Hydropower and renewable energy 2008-2018

In 2018, global installed capacity of renewable power reached roughly 2.38 terawatts, approximately 1.25 terawatts of which were derived from hydropower. Through the use of mechanical structures such as dams and watermills, energy through hydropower can be generated from falling or fast-moving water and is a reliable, flexible fuel source.

Consumption Worldwide

Hydropower has come into greater demand over the past two decades, with global consumption more than doubling since the early 2000s. China consumes the most hydropower of any country by far, followed by Brazil and Canada, each at about a third the rate of China.

Where is hydropower made?

Many of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams are located in China, and to a lesser extent, Brazil, contributing to high hydropower consumption in these countries. The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China is considered one of the largest hydroelectric dams in the world based on generating capacity. The Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2012 amidst controversy, which concerned the displacement of residents and environmental problems associated with the dam’s maintenance and construction.

Existing hydropower and total renewable energy capacity worldwide from 2008 to 2018

Renewable energy including hydroRenewable energy excluding hydro
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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2018

Supplementary notes

The figures for 2008 through 2016 are taken from previous editions of the publication.

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Statistics on "Renewable energy industry worldwide"

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