Hydropower generation is expected to remain as the world’s largest renewable energy source and play a critical role in decarbonising the power system and improving system flexibility through 2020. The global hydropower generation industry has maintained its strong and steady growth over the recent decades, while the top hydropower producing countries in the world are still retaining their dominance in the global market. Despite the growing trend of producing and adopting other renewable energy around the world, such as solar power and wind power, many world’s major economies and many industries are still relying on the use of hydropower as their primary renewable energy source.
This industry fact sheet is to assist industry professionals, investors, and people in general that are interested in gaining insights for the global hydropower generation industry including:
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China has remained as the largest hydropower producing country in terms of hydroelectricity generation, capacity and number of new developments since 1996. China’s top two hydropower plants – the 16‑GW Wudongde and 10‑GW Baihetan projects – are currently the world’s largest hydropower plants by capacity.
Brazil is ranked second place on the list of the top 20 hydropower producing countries in 2020. Much of Brazil’s hydropower potential arises from the northern Amazon River basin. As of 2018, Brazil planned to add 3.8 gigawatts of hydropower capacity. A Belo Monte dam along the Xingu River is expected to be completed in 2019 and will be the second-largest dam in Brazil (and second-largest dam in the world).
The US is one of the top hydropower producing countries in the world with over 102.8 GW total installed capacity as of 2020. The country has one of the world’s biggest hydroelectric power plants- the 6.81GW Grand Coulee hydropower project located on the Columbia River in Washington.
Canada is another one of the world’s leading hydropower producing countries with over 81.4 GW total installed capacity as of early 2020. Canada is home to two massive hydroelectric power stations that include the 5,616MW Robert-Bourassa generating station and the 5,428MW Churchill Falls Generating Station.
The Indian government announced several measures to support hydropower development, including declaring that large hydropower (>25MW) is officially a renewable energy source. This move will enable new, large projects to benefit from the nonsolar Renewable Purchase Obligation, which mandates that regional utilities purchase a portion of their electricity from hydropower.
Japan is another one of the top hydropower producing countries in Asia and around the world. Japan’s total hydropower installed capacity reached nearly 50 GW as of early 2020. Although it lost its fifth position on the list of the world’s top hydropower producing countries to India in 2019, it’s still one of the global leaders in hydropower generation industry.
Russia’s hydropower capacity was nearly 50 GW in 2020, according to the IHA report. Russia is home to two major hydroelectric power plants in the world. The two plants include the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant and the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant. The Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant has an installed capacity of 6,400MW, while the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant has an installed capacity of 6,000MW.
Norway achieved a total hydropower installed capacity of 32.7 GW as of early 2020, making it the largest hydropower producer in Europe. In 2019, Norway newly installed 134 MW hydropower generation capacity. The country’s capacity additions are expected to continue in the next few years.
Turkey is among the world’s top 10 hydropower producing countries in 2020. Turkey’s total hydropower generation capacity reached 28.5 GW in the beginning of 2020. The country is also among the world’s top 10 countries with the highest newly installed capacity in 2019, which 219 MW capacity were installed.
With over 25.6 GW total installed capacity, France is one of the top hydropower producing countries in Europe and the world. France installed a new 240 MW Pelton turbine was inaugurated at La Coche pumped storage station, replacing old units and increasing the site’s capacity by 20 percent.
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Despite the 3 largest newly installed project, new capacity additions around the world is set to decline over the next five years, according to the forecast from IEA. This is largely due to a slowdown in the two largest markets, China and Brazil, where growth is challenged by rising investment costs due to remaining economical sites being limited and to extra expenditures to address social and environmental impacts. Meanwhile, annual installed capacities are expected to expand in sub-Saharan Africa and in the ASEAN region as untapped potential is exploited to meet rising power demand over the next few years.
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