About 33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned worldwide in 2015, according to the International Hydropower Association.
IHA’s 2016 Key Trends in Hydropower briefing says total installed hydropower capacity reached 1,211 GW in 2015, including 145 GW of pumped storage.
The majority of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in China, with 19.4 GW new for a total of 320 GW installed, the briefing reports. China’s increasing global influence is called out as a sector trend, with the example that China Three Gorges Corporation became the second largest private power generator in Brazil after purchasing concessions to operate two hydropower stations totaling 5 GW.
The briefing also points to increased activity in Africa, with several transformative projects having recently been completed or nearing completion in Ethiopia, Guinea and Zambia.
Other notable sector trends identified include increased recognition of the value of electricity storage through hydropower, innovative financing options pioneered by the multilateral lenders, and the increasing influence of climate aspects on hydropower project design and rehabilitation.
“The new Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change have emphasized hydropower’s vital role in meeting the world’s energy, water and climate challenges,” says Richard Taylor, chief executive of IHA. “Through its ability to support clean energy systems and provide multiple water services, hydropower can be the key to realizing the ambitious global targets outlined at COP21.”
Key Trends in Hydropower is an annual briefing built on data from IHA’s global hydropower database, which contains information on more than 11,000 of the world’s hydropower stations.
IHA is a not-for-profit, international organization working to advance sustainable hydropower, with members active in more than 100 countries.