As of 2010, hydropower represents more than 88 percent of all renewable energy generated in the world, and continues to stand as one of the most viable sources of new renewable generation into the future. One-third of all countries generate at least 50% of their electric power from hydro. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that 55% of the new global renewable energy production will come from hydroelectric plants by 2035.
Hydropower is produced in at least 150 countries but is concentrated in just a few countries and regions. The Asia-Pacific region generated roughly 32 percent of global hydropower in 2010. Africa produces the least hydropower, accounting for 3 percent of the world total, but is considered the region with the greatest potential for increased production.
In 2008, four countries — Albania, Bhutan, Lesotho, and Paraguay — generated all their electricity from hydropower, and 15 countries generated at least 90 percent of their electricity from hydro. Iceland, New Zealand, and Norway produce the most hydropower per capita.
China is the largest hydropower producer and is expected to continue to lead global hydro use in the coming years. The country produced 17 percent of domestic electricity from hydro and also had the highest installed hydropower capacity, with 213 GW at the end of 2010.
The U.S. is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world. There are almost 2,400 hydro plants with an installed capacity of 78 GW. Hydroelectricity is the largest source of renewable electricity and accounts for 6-7% of the total U.S. electricity generated annually.
Canada is the third largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world. Hydropower is Canada’s largest source of renewable energy generation and accounts for 63% of the total electricity. Canada has over 490 hydroelectric generating facilities with a total installed capacity of 70 GW.