WEO Week: Sectoral transitions to new energy industries


Hydropower is expected to remain the world’s largest source of renewable electricity generation and play a critical role in decarbonising the power system and improving system flexibility.

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Key findings

Hydropower net capacity additions by country/region, 2018-2025


Hydropower capacity additions rebound in 2020

Global annual net hydropower additions are expected to surpass 18 GW in 2020 and continue to increase in 2021 and 2022, owing to the commissioning of two flagship projects in China with a combined capacity of 26 GW. Excluding China, global hydropower additions are expected to be relatively stable over the next 5 years. Growth is led by Asia-Pacific driven by rising electricity demand, increasing electricity access and regional electricity trade. Additions are also expected from large hydropower projects in Colombia, Argentina, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Turkey. Tenders for small hydropower spur growth in Brazil while system flexibility needs drive pumped hydropower additions in Europe.

Hydropower generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030


Hydropower is not fully on track with the Sustainable Development Scenario

Hydropower generation is estimated to have increased by over 2% in 2019 owing to continued recovery from drought in Latin America as well as strong capacity expansion and good water availability in China. However, capacity additions overall declined for the fifth consecutive year, putting this technology off track with the SDS, which requires continuous growth in newly built capacity to maintain an average generation increase of 3% per year through 2030.
Our work on Hydropower

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.