IHA returns to China, the world’s leader in hydropower

Over the last decade, almost two thirds of hydropower development has come from China. It is already the world’s leader in installed hydropower capacity with 390 GW, over three times more than the next largest country, Brazil. The country has a goal of reaching 480 GW by 2030, with an additional target of 540 GW by 2040, of which 140 GW will be pumped storage hydropower.

On 17 April, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) led a delegation to China to highlight the crucial role sustainable hydropower will play in the country’s clean energy transition, and discuss best practices in sustainability. The delegation included IHA President Roger Gill, former UN Under Secretary General Erik Solheim and IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich. It met with IHA members; China Three Gorges, Dongfang, Gezhouba, HNAC, PowerChina, SPIC, State Grid and Yalong Hydro.

IHA President Roger Gill said: “Getting face to face with key stakeholders who are driving momentum in sustainable hydropower development was inspiring and essential for us as a global association. We stand with our Chinese members in their efforts to support the world’s clean energy transition.”

“China is leading the way in hydropower development worldwide and is the only country keeping pace with capacity additions required to meet net zero targets. IHA’s delegation to China was delighted to engage with these key hydropower leaders. In today’s geopolitical context, organisations like IHA are needed more than ever to build bridges between countries on areas of common global interest” says Erik Solheim, IHA Board member and former UN Under Secretary General.

IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich added: “China’s progress on hydropower has been mind-boggling. There has never been a greater opportunity for IHA to work with its Chinese stakeholders to advance sustainable hydropower.

“We will work together to promote pumped storage hydropower; to make best use of existing hydropower infrastructure; to ensure sustainability by certifying against the Hydropower Sustainability Standard; to supercharge global awareness of how China is building its energy transition and economic development on the bedrock of hydropower; and to partner on the World Hydropower Congress. We have a lot of work ahead.”


Roger Gill also addressed the 2023 International Hydropower Development Conference organised by CSHE and Erik Solheim launched the Sichaun Project on Green, Low-Carbon and High-Quality Development organised by WRI China.

The delegation also agreed to deepen relations with GEIDCO on global electricity interconnectivity; and strengthened ties with the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition, the Chinese Renewable Energy Engineering Institute, and the International Centre on Small Hydro Power on sustainability. IHA also spoke to the Institute of Water and Hydropower Resources on hosting an IHA office in Beijing and agreed to work with the Changjiang Institute of Survey, Planning, Design and Research, on areas of common interest.

Find out more about hydropower in China.

Media contact

Will Rule
Senior Communications Officer
International Hydropower Association

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