Global hydropower growth strong in 2017, according to IHA’s most recent survey

2017 was a banner year for hydroelectric power, with a record 4,185 TWh generated worldwide, according to the International Hydropower Association’s most recent Hydropower Status Report.

The 2018 Hydropower Status Report, published today in conjunction with the Beijing Forum on Hydropower and Future Energy Systems, is the latest edition of IHA’s annual study and reveals the global capacity of commissioned hydro rose by 21.9 GW over the past year — bringing the worldwide tally of installed capacity to 1,267 GW.

“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,” said IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor.

Leading the way in growth last year was the East Asia and Pacific region, with 9.8 GW of capacity added. 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 (500 MW) followed.

Meanwhile, China maintained its position as the world’s largest producer of hydro with 9.1 GW-worth of installed capacity, followed by Brazil (3.4 GW), India (1.9 GW), Portugal (1.1 GW) and Angola (1 GW).

IHA said hydro translated to the elimination of about 4 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired sources in 2017, while avoiding a 10% rise in emissions from other fossil fuels. Hydropower also prevented the introduction of 148 million tons of air polluting particulates, 62 million tons of sulphur dioxide and 8 million tons of nitrogen oxide.

Pumped storage also saw significant growth in 2017, with 3.2 GW of new capacity bringing the world’s total to 153 GW.

“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,” Taylor said.