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2018 Hydropower Status Report shows record rise in clean electricity

2018 Hydropower Status Report shows record rise in clean electricity

Beijing, China, 24 May 2018

A record 4,185 terawatt hours (TWh) in electricity was generated from hydropower last year, according to the 2018 Hydropower Status Report, published today.

The worldwide installed capacity of commissioned hydropower plants rose to 1,267 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, according to the flagship report of the International Hydropower Association (IHA). Some 21.9 GW of capacity was added including 3.2 GW of pumped storage, bringing global pumped storage capacity to 153 GW.

By generating electricity from hydropower instead of coal, in 2017 the world prevented approximately 4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases – and avoided a 10 per cent rise in global emissions from fossil fuels and industry – according to analysis by IHA. It also avoided 148 million tonnes of air polluting particulates, 62 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide, and 8 million tonnes of nitrogen oxide from being emitted.

The 2018 Hydropower Status Report, now in its fifth edition, provides statistics for installed capacity and estimated generation by country and by region.

It offers insights and key trends on the sector, and features highlight results of a sector-wide survey of leading decision-makers on the future of hydropower.

Leading energy and environment ministers from Australia; Ethiopia; Sarawak, Malaysia; and Scotland, UK; have contributed to the 2018 edition, explaining how investment in hydropower is supporting national development priorities and the clean energy transition.

The report shows that growth in hydropower in 2017 was fastest in East Asia and the Pacific, with 9.8 GW of capacity added, followed by South America (4.1 GW), South and Central Asia (3.3 GW), Europe (2.3 GW), Africa (1.9 GW) and North and Central America (0.5 GW).

China consolidated its status as the world’s largest producer of hydroelectric power, accounting for nearly half of global added installed capacity at 9.1 GW. It was followed by Brazil (3.4 GW), India (1.9 GW), Portugal (1.1 GW) and Angola (1.0 GW).

In addition, the report publishes findings from a study of the greenhouse gas footprint of 500 large hydropower reservoirs. The research used a new tool to assess net emissions and found hydropower’s median emissions intensity to be just 18.5 gCO2-eq/kWh.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA, announced the 2018 Hydropower Status Report at the Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems – one of a series of events organised by IHA in the lead-up to the World Hydropower Congress in Paris in May 2019.

Mr Taylor said: “This report serves to highlight the vital contribution of hydropower to meeting the world’s energy needs, without which we could not hope to achieve the ambitious carbon reduction targets that underpin the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Hydropower offers storage services which support growth in other renewables such as wind and solar, as well as water management and protection from floods and drought. In many countries around the world, however, the alternative to hydropower for electricity generation is coal, which means higher emissions and dangerous levels of pollution.”

In his article, the Chief Minister of Sarawak writes that development of hydropower – including the Murum project featured on the front cover of the 2018 Hydropower Status Report – has given Sarawak the lowest tariffs in Malaysia, and reduced carbon emissions by over 70 per cent.

Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Energy writes about Australia’s commitment to new pumped hydropower projects, including the 2,000 MW Snowy 2.0 Scheme, “the largest energy storage project in the southern hemisphere”.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, in his article, cites the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be the largest hydropower project in Africa when built, with an expected installed capacity of 6,450 MW.

Scotland’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy states that his government hopes to “reduce risks and remove barriers to investment” for new pumped hydropower projects, in order to enhance the flexibility and resilience of Scotland’s electricity network.

Download the 2018 report here: www.hydropower.org/status2018

Download infographics from the 2018 report here: www.hydropower.org/keyfacts2018