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A total of 31.5 gigawatts of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2016, according to new estimates from the International Hydropower Association.

Clean Power

New Hydropower Capacity Totaled 31.5 Gigawatts In 2016

A total of 31.5 gigawatts of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2016, according to new estimates from the International Hydropower Association.

A total of 31.5 gigawatts of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2016, according to new estimates from the International Hydropower Association.

According to the 2017 Key Trends in Hydropower report published this week by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), a total of 31.5 gigawatts (GW) of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2016. This includes 6.4 GW of new pumped storage — nearly twice the amount installed in 2015. All in all, global hydropower capacity levels currently sit at 1,246 GW, including 150 GW of pumped storage.

Unsurprisingly, China again leads in terms of new capacity, installing 11.7 GW in 2016 including 3.6 GW of pumped storage. China was followed by Brazil, which installed 6.4 GW of new capacity.

Total capacity added in 2016 by region

“The latest data shows that the hydropower sector is continuing to grow steadily across the world, and we are seeing a renaissance in pumped storage development,” said Richard Taylor, chief executive of IHA. “This is indicative of hydropower’s increasingly important role in providing flexible support to renewable energy systems, as countries around the world take steps to meet the carbon reduction goals set out in the Paris Agreement.”

This brings global levels of hydropower up to 1,246 GW, led by China with a total of 331 GW, followed by the United States with 102 GW and Brazil with 98 GW.

World installed hydropower capacity at the end of 2016

The future of the global hydropower sector is similarly impressive, according to a report published earlier this month by GlobalData, which forecast the sector will reach $86.2 billion by 2025. GlobalData, whose own capacity numbers are relatively similar to that of the IHA, forecast the sector will see 1,691 GW worth of hydropower capacity by 2025.

“In terms of individual countries, China will continue to dominate market share, with installed hydropower capacity set to rise from 341 GW in 2016 to 442 GW by 2020,” said Anchal Agarwal, Power Analyst for GlobalData. “In order to achieve its carbon reduction goals, China is quickly exploring low-carbon generation technologies, including nuclear, wind, and solar power. The flexible characteristics of hydropower, including pumped storage, facilitate the increased grid penetration of wind and solar.”

The new IHA report is really a brief in advance of the larger 2017 Hydropower Status Report which it intends to publish at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress, which is set to take place in Addis Ababa in early May. Included in this smaller briefing, and which will be extended in the Status Report when it is released, is an outline of the current trends affecting the global hydropower market. Specifically, the authors of the report point to ultra-high voltage transmission connecting hydropower to markets, helping to foreshadow and propel the implementation of “global energy interconnection” in a regional and inter-continental scale.

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