COUNTRY profile


China is the world's largest producer of hydroelectricity
Hydropower installed capacity
355,000 MW (2021)
Pumped storage installed capacity
36,390 MW (2021)
Generation by hydropower
1,355 TWh (2020)

Endowed with high mountain valleys and large rivers, China has benefitted hugely from the development of its water resources over recent decades.

Baihetan HPP, Credit: China Three Gorges corporation

Since the turn of the century, the country has more than quadrupled its installed hydropower capacity, accounting for over half of worldwide growth.

Hydropower today accounts for about 16 per cent of total electric power capacity.

According to IHA’s 2022 Hydropower Status Report, total hydropower capacity reached 391 GW in 2021 after major additions in China including 3,400 MW Wudongde, 2,500MW at Lianghekou, and 1,500 MW operation at Yangfanggou.

Pumped storage hydropower is seen as essential to providing flexibility to China's power system and is seen as a priority in the country's energy transition. China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) published the mid-term and long-term plan from 2021 to 2035 for pumped storage development. According to this plan, installed capacity of pumped storage hydropower in China will be at least 62 GW in 2025, and around 120 GW in 2030. By the end of November 2022, China’s installed pumped storage capacity is reported to have reached 50 GW.

China's government has implemented a series of reforms and policies to speed up the clean energy transformation. In September 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping announced a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060.

Featured case study

Baihetan hydropower plant helping China to reach its net zero carbon goals

China Three Gorges' Baihetan HPP will be China’s and the world’s second largest hydropower plant. Watch the film which premiered at the 2021 World Hydropower Congress exploring the contribution that Baihetan will make in transforming China's energy system.

Watch now.

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