IEA: From 2021-2026, China will account for more than half of hydropower capacity growth
In the period from 2021 to 2026, global installed capacity of hydroelectric stations will increase by 153 GW, according to the latest forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA). By way of comparison: in 2020, the total installed capacity of hydropower stations in Britain and the 27 member-states of the European Union stood at 156 GW, according to the calculations of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

    More than half of world-wide growth in installed capacity of hydro stations will be provided by China, where several major projects are being developed. These include:

  • The Baihetan station, with an installed capacity of 16 GW in southwestern China – all 16 units are due to be in operation by the end of 2022.
  • The pumped storage hydro station at Fengning in northern China – with a planned capacity of 3.6 GW –  is to be completed in 2023.
  • The Huanggou Pumped Storage Power Station in northwestern China, with a capacity of 1.2 GW, which began generating power this year.
  • Another major Chinese hydro station, Wudongde (10.2 GW), achieved its planned capacity last summer.

    In world-wide terms, hydropower will become a more significant renewable energy source than biomass energy – which will see an increase in installed capacity of 47 GW. But the leaders among renewables, in terms of growth in installed capacity, will be solar and wind power.

    In the solar energy sector, the role of driver will be assumed by photovoltaic stations connected to the public grid – their capacity will increase by 667 GW – and that with due consideration of the total world-wide capacity in 2020 of 714 GW.

   Growth in capacity will be slightly less dramatic for solar stations working with distributed generation networks (421 GW) as well as for land-based (451 GW) and offshore (82 GW) wind farms. For all other forms of renewables, growth will not exceed 6 GW.

    And by the same token, in the renewables sector, the same trends will be observed as seen in 2015-2020: In that period:

  • The growth of installed capacity in solar energy (492 GW) was greater than for wind power (317 GW), biomass (30 GW) and hydroelectric (120 GW).
  • In terms of wind energy, increased capacity of land-based stations (294 GW) was considerably greater than for offshore facilities (23 GW).
  • In terms of growth, hydropower (120 GW) stood far ahead of biomass (30 GW). And more than 40 % of the world-wide growth in hydro capacity was provided by China (51 GW of a total 120 GW), according to data from IRENA.  


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December 2021