Global hydropower capacity grows by 34GW, but falls short of net zero 2050 targets, says IHA’s World Hydropower Outlook8 June 2023
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has released its inaugural World Hydropower Outlook, which reveals that global hydropower capacity grew by 34GW in the past year. This includes 10GW of pumped storage, and marks the first time since 2016 that over 30GW of hydropower capacity has been added in a single year. Hydropower currently accounts for more than 15% of the world's electricity generation.
The report also highlights a pipeline of 590 GW of hydropower projects currently under development, including 214 GW of pumped storage. However, despite the positive growth, there is still a significant shortfall in capacity to meet the net-zero targets for 2050. Even if all planned developments are completed, there remains a gap of over 700 GW, which is roughly equivalent to the combined electricity generation capacity of India and Japan.
The CEO of IHA, Eddie Rich, emphasized the need for collaborative efforts between governments, industry, and stakeholders to boost investment, streamline licensing processes, and introduce sustainable practices regulations. He stated that while sustainable hydropower is a clean and affordable solution to climate change, market mechanisms and government support are necessary to incentivize its development.
In terms of regional growth, China led in increasing its hydropower capacity by 24GW, while Europe experienced unprecedented success with a capacity increase of 3GW. North and South America added 1GW each, and central and southern Asia installed nearly 2GW, including notable projects in Pakistan and India.
The IHA's World Hydropower Outlook sets out a roadmap to enable hydropower and other renewables to contribute to the net-zero targets. The report calls on governments to consider its recommendations and take action to accelerate sustainable hydropower development.
The release of the World Hydropower Outlook precedes the biennial World Hydropower Congress, which is scheduled to take place in Bali from October 31 to November 2. The congress will bring together decision-makers, industry leaders, experts, and other stakeholders to discuss and advance the hydropower sector.