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Blog | 33 GW new hydropower capacity commissioned worldwide in 2015

33 GW new hydropower capacity commissioned worldwide in 2015

33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2015, including 2.5 GW of pumped storage, according to estimates in our new briefing, 2016 Key Trends in Hydropower.

2016 Key Trends in HydropowerAt the end of 2015, the world’s total installed hydropower capacity reached 1,211 GW, including 145 GW of pumped storage.

Continuing the trend of recent years, the majority of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in China. In 2015, Chinese total hydropower capacity reached 320 GW, according to the China Electricity Council. This represents 19.4 GW of new installed capacity.

The briefing also identifies China’s increasing global influence as a sector trend. For example, China Three Gorges Corporation became the second-largest private power generator in Brazil, after purchasing concessions to operate two hydropower stations totalling 5 GW. 

Increased activity in Africa is also featured, 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 latest data shows that the hydropower sector is continuing its strong growth trend across the world,” said Richard Taylor, IHA chief executive.

“The new Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate action have emphasised hydropower’s vital role in meeting the world’s energy, water and climate challenges.

“Through its ability to support clean energy systems and provide multiple water services, hydropower can be the key to realising the ambitious global targets outlined at COP21.” 


Key Trends in Hydropower is an annual briefing on key hydropower data and sector trends. It is built on data from IHA’s global hydropower database, which contains information on over 11,000 of the world’s hydropower stations. The 2016 edition is expected to be widely cited as the most up-to-date source of statistics on hydropower development worldwide.