Hydroelectricity - 2015 in review

Global hydroelectric output grew by a below average 1%, compared with a 10-year average of 3%

China (+5%) remains by far the world’s largest producer of hydroelectricity; as with nuclear power, China accounted for all of the net global increase, even though growth in percentage terms was less than half the recent historical average. Elsewhere, growth in Turkey (+64.6%, following a very weak 2014) and Scandinavia was offset by drought conditions in Italy, Spain and Portugal (-28.6% combined) and Brazil (-3.3%). Hydroelectric output accounted for 6.8% of global primary energy consumption.

Hydro consumption by region (million tonnes oil equivalent)


Data are based on gross primary hydroelectric generation and not accounting for cross-border electricity supply. The primary energy value of hydroelectricity generation has been derived by calculating the equivalent amount of fossil fuel required to generate the same volume of electricity in a thermal power station, assuming a conversion efficiency of 38% (the average for OECD thermal power generation).

In the hydroelectricity consumption PDF table, the units are in million tonnes oil equivalent (mtoe). In addition, the data are available in the Excel workbook in terawatt-hours (twh).

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