IHA Hydropower Status Report

    Full details

    Authors & editors

    Publisher International Hydropower Association
    Year of publication 2022 -

    Medium Digital

    Energy & power > Water power
    Climate, environment and development > Renewable energy policy and economics
    Economics & commerce > Data & reviews


    Renewable energy

    Scope & contentExecutive summary

    The 2022 Hydropower Status Report, now in its ninth edition, is published while both climate change and energy security are at the forefront of global discourse.

    At COP26 (the United Nations climate change conference) in Glasgow in November 2021, welcome progress was made on some of the key climate change issues. Alongside headline deals on deforestation and methane emissions, important commitments were made by many countries, international financial institutions and banks to phase down coal and its financing.

    Filling the hole left by coal will be a major task over the coming decade. Hydropower, with its ability to provide both flexible and reliable power, is ideally placed to deliver.

    The conflict in Ukraine is a human tragedy with profound global consequences. The impact on fossil fuel prices is having a major impact on the cost of living around the world. It has served to demonstrate how vulnerable the world economy is in relying on sources of energy that are restricted to just a few key regions.

    In generating around 16 per cent of the world’s electricity, hydropower plays a key role providing low-carbon electricity at scale and free from many of the energy security concerns that plague fossil fuels. We know that to keep climate change below 2°C, or the more challenging 1.5°C net zero target, we will need to see a huge increase in low-carbon electricity generation. International agencies such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have consistently modelled a significant increase in the amount of hydropower needed in such energy systems.

    To achieve a 2°C target, we need to see around 850 GW of additional hydropower capacity added by 2050, while to achieve a 1.5°C target we will need at least 1,200 GW more. Unfortunately, this is not capacity that can be easily substituted. Other low-carbon sources will, under the international agencies’ models, be pushed to their limit.

    Landmark moments for sustainable hydropower development
    For hydropower to play its role in the clean energy transition it is vital that it is developed sustainably. In 2021, leading hydropower companies and international organisations declared their support for a new sustainability certification scheme for hydropower – the Hydropower Sustainability Standard. Launched in September 2021 at the World Hydropower Congress, the Standard will help to ensure that hydropower projects across the world are recognised and certified for their environmental, social and governance performance.

    The San José Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower, issued on 24 September 2021 at the conclusion of the Congress, outlines a vision for hydropower’s contribution to meeting global climate and development goals. At the heart of the Declaration is a recognition that “sustainable hydropower is a clean, green, modern and affordable solution to climate change”. It says that “going forward, the only acceptable hydropower is sustainable hydropower”.

    Divisions within this publication

    • 1: Foreword
    • 2: Executive summary
    • 3: Hydropower installed capacity in 2021
    • 4: Where was capacity added in 2021?
    • 5: Hydropower growth in context
    • 6: Regional developments
    • 7: 2021: pumped storage hydropower in the spotlight
    • 8: Regions in focus
    • 9: North and Central America
    • 10: South America
    • 11: Europe
    • 12: Africa
    • 13: South and Central Asia
    • 14: East Asia and Pacific
    • 15: Installed capacity and generation 2021

    File attachments