Hydroelectric Plants Include Nine Out of the 10 Biggest in the World

By Editors of Power Engineering

Nine out of the 10 biggest power-generating facilities in the world are based on hydroelectric power, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced.

Additionally, four out of the group are based in China, with all four beginning operations in the last 13 years.

The world’s largest dam, Three Gorges, taps into the Yangtze River and has a capacity of 22.5 GW. Hydroelectric power is the second-largest source of electricity behind coal, with 20 percent of the country’s total generation in 2015.

Three of the biggest are based in South America, including the second-largest power plant in the world. Brazil’s Itaipu Dam on the Parana River has a capacity of 14GW. In 2015, it ranked first in the world in generation with 89.5 billion kWh, compared to Three Gorges’ output of 87 billion kWh.

The sole non-hydroelectric plant in the list is Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, a nuclear plant and the sixth-largest in the world. However, it was shut down along with most Japanese nuclear plants after the Fukushima accident in 2011 and has yet to restart.

The Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington is the seventh-largest in the world with a capacity of 6.8 GW. It was also the largest power plant in the world from 1949 through 1960, and retook the title after an expansion from 1979 through 1986. 

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