Hydropower, one of renewable energies with most mature technologies and most economical production, has become one of the priorities in the energy development worldwide. Currently, about 20% of electricity comes from hydropower. It also accounts for 90% of the power supply in more than 20 countries and over 50% in 50 countries worldwide.
Due to different levels of economy, the development of hydropower varies greatly among different countries. In 2015, the power generating capacity was more than 3.7 trillion kWh in the world, with an exploitation rate of 25%. The rate is 47% in Europe, 38% in North America, 24% in South America, 22% in Asia and 8% in Africa.
In 2016, the power generating capacity reached 5,989.7 billion kWh, up by 5.2% YOY. In terms of types, hydropower generating capacity was 1,180.7 billion, up by 6.2% YOY and accounting for 19.7% of the total power generating capacity in China, up by 0.2% compared to 2015.
In 2016, China installed 117.4 billion kw of power generation capacity, in which pumped storage capacity increased by 3.74 million kw. By the end of 2016, the installed hydropower capacity had reached 3,321.1 billion kw in China, up by 3.9% compared to 2015. However, the annual growth of general hydropower installed capacity in China presented a downward trend from 2013 to 2016. In 2016, the net increase of hydropower capacity was 12.59 million kw, down by 2.1 million kw YOY, mainly due to the decrease of general hydropower capacity, which declined by 4.84 million kw YOY.
Different from general hydropower, pumped storage power stations performed well in 2016. In 2016, the installed capacity was 26.69 million kw, up by 15.9% YOY, the highest level since 2010. In 2016, hydropower investment in China was CNY 61.2 billion, down by 22.4% YOY. The completed investment value was only half of the highest level occurring in 2012. Meanwhile, the average utilization hour of hydropower equipment in China was 3,621, up by 31 hours compared to 2015. However, in Sichuan and Yunnan, two major hydropower provinces, the abandoned energy reached 14.1 billion kw and 31.4 billion kw, respectively, showing a rapid increase compared to 2015. According to CRI, due to spare capacity in China’s electric power industry, the hydropower industry was greatly affected. In 2016, the majority of hydropower enterprises in China were around a break-even point.