Hydropower: The Facts

Hydropower is the largest renewable source of electricity, producing 16% of electricity worldwide.

Hydroelectric plants started being developed in the late 19th century; their power and scale has been increasing since then. In addition to typical dams, there are also run-of-the-river projects and pumped storage.

However resource scarcity and social acceptance issues globally mean hydropower’s capacity for growth is limited and global net additions of hydro capacity fell in 2019 to their lowest level since 2001.

Global Hydropower Capacity Additions 2018-21



Global Hydropower Electricity Generation 2014


Further readings

Hydropower Tracking Report, International Energy Agency, 2020

Charting the Upsurge in Hydropower Development, World Energy Resources, 2015