Global Hydropower Installed Capacity and Use Increase

Matt Lucky | Jan 17, 2012

Global use of hydropower increased by over 5.3 percent between 2009 and 2010 (see Figure 1), reaching 3,427 terawatt-hours (TWh) by the end of that year.1 The world’s total consumption of hydropower increased each year between 2003 and 2010.2 It also increased by at least 3.5 percent annually during five of the seven years between 2003 and 2010.3

Hydropower Figure 1

Hydropower accounted for 16.1 percent of electricity consumption and 3.4 percent of energy consumption worldwide in 2010.4 Only 12.5 percent of electricity came from hydroelectric power plants located in countries that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.5 All other countries were more dependent on hydropower in 2010, as it accounted for 19.8 percent of their electricity consumption.6

Global installed capacity of hydropower also experienced increases over the past several years. Installed capacities increased by 30 gigawatts (GW), or about 3.0 percent a year, in 2008, 2009, and 2010.7 At the end of 2010, the total global installed capacity of hydropower was 1,010 GW.8


The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization known around the world for its accessible, fact-based analysis of critical global issues. Learn More