2024 World Hydropower Outlook

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The World Hydropower Outlook, a flagship annual publication by IHA, tracks and directs the progress of hydropower development globally against net zero pathways. Drawing upon exclusive new development insights from IHA’s global database, it features in-depth analysis of hydropower’s growth trajectory. The report highlights policy and financial investment challenges and examples of good progress.

  • Global hydropower fleet grows to 1,412GW in 2023 but five-year rolling average shows downward trend
  • A growth rate of just over 26GW per year from now to 2030 is needed to stay on track with net zero targets
  • Hydropower is the largest single source of renewable energy, with pumped storage hydropower providing more than 90% of all stored energy in the world
  • It is estimated that around double the amount of hydropower that is currently installed is needed for net zero scenarios by 2050
  • To double hydropower capacity by 2050, a cumulative investment of approximately US$3.7tn is required, or about US$130bn annually. This equates to more than double the current level of funding
  • IHA’s assessment of the “big 100” pipeline of projects under development indicates that this acceleration is within reach for the early years of the next decade, but more action is needed over the longer term.
  • Hydropower is among the best ways to mitigate for droughts. IHA estimates that through the water storage function of its reservoirs, the hydropower industry prevents over US$130bn in annual GDP losses from drought incidents

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