More than 21.8GW of hydroelectric capacity was put into operation in 2018, according to the 2019 Hydropower Status Report which is published today by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) on the eve of the World Hydropower Congress in Paris.

Government ministers from Canada, Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda and Uruguay contribute policy interventions to the sixth edition of the Hydropower Status Report, each emphasising the need for investment in renewable energy, and especially hydropower, to help countries achieve sustainable development.

Electricity generation from hydropower projects achieved a record 4200TWh in 2018, the highest ever contribution from a renewable energy source, as worldwide installed hydropower capacity climbed to 1292GW.

China added the most capacity with the installation of 8540MW followed by Brazil (3866MW), Pakistan (2487MW), Turkey (1085MW), Angola (668MW), Tajikistan (605MW), Ecuador (556MW), India (535MW), Norway (419MW) and Canada (401 W).

Brazil has now become the second largest producer of hydroelectricity by installed capacity, reaching 104.1GW in 2018, surpassing the US at 102.7GW. The world largest hydropower producer is China with 352.3GW of installed capacity.

The Hydropower Status Report is an authoritative guide to key trends in hydropower development. Compiled by IHA’s team of analysts, the report presents latest capacity and generation data from more than 200 countries and territories.

The 2019 edition of the Hydropower Status Report presents research into the multiple services provided by hydropower, the importance of building resilience to climate change, and the role of digitalisation and regional interconnections in bringing efficiencies to clean energy generation.

With pumped hydropower storage capacity reaching 160.3GW in 2018 (up 1.9GW on 2017), the report also calls for the market framework and regulatory treatment of this clean ‘water battery’ technology to be reformed, especially in liberalised markets.

In total, 48 countries worldwide added hydropower capacity in 2018. The report shows that East Asia and the Pacific once again added the most capacity, with 9.2GW installed last year. This was followed by South America (4.9GW), South and Central Asia (4.0GW), Europe (2.2GW), Africa (1GW) and North and Central America (0.6GW).

“Four years on since the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, governments increasingly recognise hydropower as playing a vital role in national strategies for delivering affordable and clean electricity, managing freshwater, combatting climate change and improving livelihoods,” write IHA Chief Executive Richard Taylor and IHA President Ken Adams in the foreword to the report.

The Hydropower Status Report is released ahead of the World Hydropower Congress in Paris, 14-16 May 2019, which draws more than 700 delegates from over 70 countries to the French capital. The high-level event is organised by IHA in collaboration with more than 40 partner organisations.

The event will bring together a broad spectrum of delegates interested in hydropower development, including leaders from business, government, civil society, social and environmental NGOs, local communities, the United Nations, financial institutions and academia.

Download the 2019 Hydropower Status Report:

Learn more about the World Hydropower Congress: