Due to droughts, hydropower generation decreased in 2021 for the first time in two decades, despite relatively high capacity growth
In the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, hydropower maintains an average annual generation growth rate of about 3% in 2022-2030 to provide approximately 5 700 TWh of electricity per year. In the last five years the growth rate was just one-third of what is required, signalling a need for significantly stronger efforts, especially to streamline permitting and ensure project sustainability.
Without major policy changes, global hydropower expansion is expected to slow down this decade
The IEA is providing the world’s first detailed forecasts to 2030 for three types of hydropower: reservoir, run-of-river and pumped storage plants. Reservoir hydropower plants account for half of net hydropower additions through 2030 in our forecast. Pumped storage hydropower plants represent 30% of net hydropower additions through 2030 in our forecast. Run-of-river hydropower remains the smallest growth segment because it includes many small-scale projects below 10 MW.
Solar PV claims the most installed power capacity worldwide by 2027, surpassing coal, natural gas and hydropower
Overall renewable electricity generation is expected to increase almost 60% to reach over 12 400 TWh, with hydropower remaining the primary source of renewable electricity generation throughout the forecast period even though its capacity expands less than that of wind and solar PV.
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Hydropwer is the largest source of renewable electricity in the world and it is particularly suited to providing system flexibility. The Hydropower TCP is a global platform for advancing hydropower technology, encouraging the sustainable use of water resources for the development and management of hydropower.