More than half of the increase (128.8 GW) will come from reservoir hydroelectric power stations, a further 28% (65.2 GW) from pumped storage stations and 13% (30.7 GW) from run-of-river hydroelectric stations (and 2% — from hydro stations not assigned to a specific category).
“Hydropower is the forgotten giant of clean electricity, and it needs to be put squarely back on the energy and climate agenda if countries are serious about meeting their net zero goals,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director.
“It brings valuable scale and flexibility to help electricity systems adjust quickly to shifts in demand and to compensate for fluctuations in supply from other sources. Hydropower’s advantages can make it a natural enabler of secure transitions in many countries as they shift to higher and higher shares of solar and wind – provided that hydropower projects are developed in a sustainable and climate-resilient way.”
The number of new hydropower stations (210.7 GW) will exceed stations undergoing expansion (18.9 GW). The same proportion will apply to large stations (223.3 GW) as opposed to small stations (6.3 GW).
The rate of bringing on stream of small hydro stations will remain nearly the same as it has in the last decade covering 2011-2019. According to United Nations data on industrial development, their world-wide installed capacity rose from 71 GW to 79 GW.
China will remain the world’s leader in the hydropower sector – over the next decade or so, it will account for 40 % of the growth of all types of hydroelectric capacity.
By way of comparison: From 2011-2020, world-wide capacity of hydro stations rose by 275 GW—have of which were located in China, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).