Report finds sharp growth in global hydro capacity

Dam © Unsplash/Francisco Kemeny

A new report by the International Hydropower Association has found that global hydropower increased by 34 GW in the past year, including over 10 GW of pumped storage. This is the first time capacity has increased by more than 30 GW in a single year since 2016.

Hydropower currently provides over 15% of the world’s electricity and will be an important energy source in the race to meet the 2050 net zero targets. However, the report warns that despite the encouraging signs of increased global commitment to hydropower, progress still falls short of the 45 GW required to achieve net zero by 2050.

The report states that globally there are 590 GW of hydropower projects at various stages of development, including 214 GW of pumped storage. Current estimates show that even if all planned developments come online, a gap of over 700 GW remains to meet net zero targets. This is roughly equivalent to the total electricity generation capacity of India and Japan combined.

The report recommends government collaboration to ensure that the drive for hydropower continues at a rate able to reduce the resource gap, supported by increased investment, streamlined licensing and regulations for sustainable practices.