January 12, 2024

The 5 largest hydropower projects, with in-service dates before 2030, are expected to add over 20 GW of capacity. Two are in Pakistan and one each in Ethiopia, Tajikistan, and Nigeria. The first to come online (2024) is the 6.5 GW facility in Ethiopia. The largest of the 5 is the 6.7 GW facility in Pakistan slated to begin operations in 2029.

According to the International Hydropower Association’s (IHA), global installed hydropower capacity rose by over 25 GW in 2021 with about 80% of the new capacity being installed in China.

The IHA also noted that almost 5 GW of pumped storage hydropower was added to the grid, triple the amount added in 2020.

There is currently about 130 GW of hydropower under construction worldwide with another 500 GW in various stages of development, led by China and other countries with large risks surrounding electricity supply.

The IHA suggests in a recent report (Hydropower 2050: Identifying the next 850+ GW towards Net Zero) that although there is 500 GW being developed worldwide, it is short by 300 GW to limit global warming to 2°C and by 600 GW to limit it at 1.5°C.

One of the key factors hindering the growth of the global hydropower generation is the high capital and operating costs.

There are currently 3 hydro projects in Canada:

– Romaine River in Quebec (1.55 GW) was recently completed
– Site C Dam in BC (1.1 GW) is near completion (2025)
– Gull Island in Newfoundland & Labrador (2.25 GW) is planned with construction scheduled for 2028 and in-service by 2032.