Hydropower is power derived from falling water or fast flowing water, and it's the greatest source of renewable energy in the US. Hydropower accounted for 6.5% of all electricity generation in the US in 2016 and 44% of total utility renewable energy generation in the same year. Hydropower is very much dependent on the water cycle, and the more water available, the more energy that can be produced.
However, in periods of drought, hydroelectric output is negatively affected. But hydropower also has the highest efficiency out of all the energy sources, sitting at 90% efficiency from water flow to the wire. Hydropower is not a new technology, but in recent years with the push towards renewables, the demand for this technology is increasing. This is especially true for India, China and Brazil, whic are all investing heavily in renewable energy. China itself has eight utility-sized hydropower projects in the planning phase.
Here, we look at the Top 10 large scale Hydropower companies from around the world.
BC Hydro & Power Authority is a Canadian power utility company. They have a number of different hydroelectric power plants in the British Columbia area and are invested heavily in Hydropower. In the Columbia region alone, they have 11 hydroelectric power stations with a total capacity of 6,882 MW, representing 58% of BC Hydro’s total generating capacity.
In the lower mainland and coast, they have another hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of 1,104 MW. In the Peace region they have two hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of 3,424 MW.
Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA is a Brazilian state-owned utility and is the largest power utility in Latin America. Part of the Eletrobras family of companies, altogether they own and operate 47 hydroelectric power plants and invest in developing additional hydroelectric capacity.
Their total generation capacity is 46,856 MW and 94% of this comes from clean energy sources such as hydroelectric and geothermal.
China Yangtze Power is a Chinese-based power utility company. They own and operate one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world, the Three Gorges Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant, which creates a whopping 22,500 GW in generation capacity.
In total, this comes from twenty-six 700 MW turbine generators. They also own and operate the Gezhouba Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has a total generation capacity of 2,715 MW.
Hydro-Quebec is a state-owned power utility owned by the Quebec government. Most of their power generation capacity comes from renewable energy sources, and primarily hydropower.
They also have an energy efficiency R&D facility. They own and operate 62 hydropower plants in the Quebec region with a total generation capacity of 36,912 MW in hydropower alone.
RusHydro is a Russian power utility with over 37.5 GW of generation capacity, with over 70% of this coming from renewable energy resources. They own and operate the first large scale hydroelectric power plant in East Russia with an installed capacity of 1,330 MW.
Other hydroelectric power stations they own and operate are the Bureiskaya hydroelectric power statio, which has a generation capacity of 2,010 MW, and the Novosibirsk hydroelectric power station, which generates 455 MW. They also own several smaller hydroelectric power stations.
Hydropower is the main source of renewable energy in Norway, and Agder Energi is one of the largest producers of hydropower in that nation. Agder Energi is unique in the sense that they pay out dividends to the community via a public shareholder format, creating those dividends from the sale of clean energy.
The company owns or partially owns 49 hydropower stations in Norway, producing around 8.1 TWh’s per year. They provide 195,000 grid-connected customers with clean energy!
Duke Energy is the largest power utility holding company in the US and serves 7.2 Million grid-tied customers. They own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a portfolio of renewable energy assets.
Their portfolio includes 31 hydroelectric power stations ranging in generation capacity from 4 MW all the way up to 350 MW.
Georgia Power is the largest power utility company in the Southeast United States, serving 2.4 Million grid-tied customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties.
Georgia Power is investing in renewables as it phases out coal fired power stations. Georgia Power owns and operates 19 hydroelectric power stations with a total capacity of 1,087 MW.
Ontario Power Generation is one of the largest power utility companies in North America, providing more than half the power used in Ontario. Hydroelectric power accounts for more than one third of Ontario Power Generation's total power capacity.
They own and operate 66 hydroelectric power stations, ranging in size from 800 Kw all the way up to 1,400 MW. Total power generated from hydropower in 2015 was 30.4 TWh’s.
Statkraft has over 100 years’ experience in hydropower and is the largest producer of electricity from hydropower in Europe. The majority of Statkraft’s energy production originates from hydropower.
They own and operate 373 hydropower plants – 254 in Norway, 60 in Sweden, 10 in Germany, four in Finland, three in the United Kingdom, and 32 outside Europe. In a normal year they generate 50 TWh’s of electricity from hydropower alone.