Hydropower Continues Steady Growth

China, Brazil, Canada and the United States lead the world in hydroelectric power generation.


| June 14, 2012



hydro 2

Hydroelectric generation by country, 2011 (Billion Kilowatt-hours).


SOURCE: BP

The following article is posted with permission from the Earth Policy Institute.

World hydroelectric power generation has risen steadily by an average 3 percent annually over the past four decades. In 2011, at 3,500 billion kilowatt-hours, hydroelectricity accounted for roughly 16 percent of global electricity generation, almost all produced by the world’s 45,000-plus large dams. Today hydropower is generated in over 160 countries.

Four countries dominate the hydropower landscape: China, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. Together they produce more than half of the world’s hydroelectricity.

Much of the world’s recent growth came from China, where hydropower generation more than tripled from 220 billion kilowatt-hours in 2000 to 720 billion in 2010. In 2011, despite a drop in generation due to drought, hydropower accounted for 15 percent of China’s total electricity generation.

Brazil, the second-largest producer of hydropower worldwide, gets 86 percent of its electricity from water resources. It is home to an estimated 450 dams, including the Itaipu Dam, which generates more electricity than any other hydropower facility in the world—over 92 billion kilowatt-hours per year.

Approximately 62 percent of Canada’s electricity is generated from its 475 hydroelectric plants. The country’s enormous hydropower capacity allows for electricity export; Canada sells some 50 billion kilowatt-hours to the United States every year—enough to power more than 4 million American homes.

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6/21/2012 8:10:44 AM

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