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India remains dominant player in global hydropower

New Delhi : China continues to dominate the market for new development and total installed capacity in hydropower, adding 19.4 GW of new

capacity within its borders, including 1.2 GW of pumped storage during 2015.

India, in contrast saw just one-tenth of Chinese hydropower capacity added during the year, though it figured among the top five countries that saw new capacity addition, as per the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

India also ranks at number five in terms of total installed hydropower capacity in the world, even though it has been facing severe water shortages in recent years.

At the end of 2015, the world’s total installed hydropower capacity reached 1,211 GW, including 145 GW of pumped storage. During 2015, 33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned around the world, with China accounting for close to 60 per cent of the new capacity.

Turkey was at second place with 2.3 GW being added during the year.

Brazil was next with 2 GW, closely followed by India with 1.9 GW. Iran and Vietnam were the next in line with 1 GW each capacity being added while Malaysia and Canada saw 0.7 GW capacity being added during 2015, a new briefing by the IHA -- 2016 Key Trends in Hydropower -- showed.

Colombia and Laos saw 0.6 GW of capacity being added, while the rest of the world saw just 2.7 GW being added during the year.

Continuing the trend of recent years, the majority of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in China and by 2015, Chinese total hydropower capacity had reached 320 GW.

The United States had 102 GW of installed capacity by 2015, followed by Brazil at 91 GW, Canada at 78 GW and India and Russia with 51 GW each, with Japan just a tad behind at 50 GW.

The briefing also noted China’s increasing global influence as a sector trend. For example, China Three Gorges Corporation became the second-largest private power generator in Brazil, after purchasing concessions to operate two hydropower stations totalling 5 GW.

Increased activity in Africa is also featured, with several transformative projects having recently been completed or nearing completion in Ethiopia, Guinea and Zambia.

Other notable sector trends identified by IHA include increased recognition of the value of electricity storage through hydropower, innovative financing options pioneered by the multilateral lenders, and the increasing influence of climate aspects on hydropower project design and rehabilitation.

IHA chief executive Richard Taylor said, “The latest data shows that the hydropower sector is continuing its strong growth trend across the world. The new Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate action have emphasised hydropower’s vital role in meeting the world’s energy, water and climate challenges".

“Through its ability to support clean energy systems and provide multiple water services, hydropower can be the key to realising the ambitious global targets outlined at COP21", Taylor added.

Globally, drivers for hydropower’s strong showing include a general increase in demand not just for electricity, but also for particular qualities such as reliable, clean and affordable power.

Looking forward, there remains significant undeveloped potential across all world regions, particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Demand for electricity and other related reservoir services is also high in these areas, forming a strong foundation for continued growth in hydropower.

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