Asia, and the use of hydropower

Did you know that Asia is home to some of the largest hydropower plants in the world? China alone accounts for over 50% of the world’s hydropower capacity! Hydropower is a clean and renewable energy source that has many benefits. Not only does it help to reduce carbon emissions, but it also provides a reliable source of power that can be used to meet the growing energy needs of Asia’s booming economies. In this blog post, we will take a look at some facts about hydropower in Asia and how it is being used to meet the region’s energy needs.


What is hydropower?

Hydropower is a renewable energy source that harnesses the power of water to generate electricity. Hydropower plants use the force of moving water to spin turbines, which in turn drive generators that produce electricity.

Hydropower is one of the oldest and most widely used forms of renewable energy. It has been used for centuries to power mills and pumps and more recently has been harnessed to generate electricity. Today, hydropower provides around 16 percent of the world’s electricity, with Asia accounting for almost 60 percent of global hydropower capacity.

There are two main types of hydropower plants: impoundment and diversion. Impoundment plants use dams to store water in reservoirs, which can then be released through turbines to generate electricity. Diversion plants divert a portion of a river’s flow through a canal or penstock (a pipeline that carries water under pressure) to spin turbines and produce electricity.

Both types of hydropower plants have their advantages and disadvantages. Impoundment plants are typically larger and more expensive to build than diversion plants, but they can provide a steadier supply of electricity because water can be stored in the reservoir and released when needed. Diversion plants are smaller and less expensive to build, but they are subject to seasonal changes in river flow and can be impacted by drought conditions.

In addition to generating electricity, hydropower plants also provide other benefits, such as flood control,

How is hydropower used in Asia?

Hydropower is used in Asia for a variety of purposes, including irrigation, flood control, and electricity generation. In China, hydropower provides about 19 percent of the country’s electricity; in India, it provides about 7 percent.

Other countries in Asia that use hydropower to generate electricity include Vietnam (5 percent), Laos (4 percent), and Nepal (3 percent). Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar also have hydroelectric power plants.


What are the main countries in Asia that use hydropower?

Many countries in Asia use hydropower, but the three main countries are China, India, and Japan.

China is the world’s largest producer of hydropower, with an installed capacity of almost 300 gigawatts (GW). More than 60% of China’s electricity comes from hydropower, and the country has plans to increase its capacity to 350 GW by 2020.

India is the world’s second-largest producer of hydropower, with an installed capacity of 100 GW. Hydropower provides around 15% of India’s electricity. The country has plans to increase its capacity to 175 GW by 2022.

Japan is the world’s third-largest producer of hydropower, with an installed capacity of 50 GW. Hydropower provides around 10% of Japan’s electricity.

As China and India are referred to as the main countries using hydropower in Asia let us explore further the too,

Hydropower in China

As the most populous country in the world, it’s no surprise that China is also a leading producer of hydropower. China is the global leader in hydropower generation, accounting for almost one-fifth of the world’s total production.

While hydroelectricity has been used in China for centuries, it was not until the early 20th century that large-scale projects were developed. The first major dam, the Zipingpu Dam on the Yangtze River, was completed in 2005. Since then, China has built an extensive hydropower infrastructure, with over 2,000 dams currently in operation.

China’s hydropower industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Between 2010 and 2015, installed capacity grew by an average of 12% per year. This expansion is expected to continue, with plans to add another 160 gigawatts (GW) of capacity by 2030.

The majority of China’s hydropower plants are located in the southwest of the country, where rivers such as the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salween provide an abundant source of water. These rivers also flow through some of China’s poorest and most remote regions, making hydropower an important source of energy for these areas.

China is committed to increasing its use of renewable energy sources like hydropower as part of its efforts to combat climate change. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, hydropower plays an important role in regulating water supplies and


Hydropower in India

Hydropower is the largest source of renewable electricity in India, accounting for 22% of the country’s total installed capacity.

As of March 2018, India had 45 GW of installed hydropower capacity. The Indian government has set a target to increase hydropower generation to 175 GW by 2022.

Hydropower development in India began in the late 19th century with the commissioning of the Darjeeling powerhouse in 1897. Since then, hydropower has played an important role in meeting the growing energy needs of the country.

India has vast potential for further hydropower development, with an estimated resource potential of 1,500 GW.  However, only a fraction of this potential has been exploited so far due to various challenges such as land availability, environmental concerns, and others.

Uses and benefits of hydropower in Asia

In addition to generating electricity, hydropower can also be used for other purposes such as irrigation, navigation, and flood control.

Hydropower is a clean source of energy that does not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants. It is also a versatile source of energy that can be used to meet changing energy demands.

The use of hydropower in Asia has grown in recent years as the region looks for ways to diversify its energy mix and meet growing energy demand. China, India, and Japan are among the countries in Asia that have turned to hydropower to help meet their energy needs.

China is the world’s leading producer of hydropower, accounting for almost half of the world’s total hydropower generation in 2015. India is the second-largest producer of hydropower in the world, with an installed capacity of nearly 45 gigawatts (GW). Japan ranks third in terms of installed hydropower capacity, with more than 25 GW.

The benefits of hydropower include its affordability, reliability, and sustainability. Hydropower is typically less expensive than other forms of generation, such as coal-fired power plants. In addition, hydropower plants have long lifespans and require little maintenance, making them a reliable source of energy.

Hydropower is also a renewable source of energy, meaning that it can be replenished through the natural water cycle. This makes hydropower a sustainable option for countries looking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

How can Asia improve its hydropower infrastructure?

There are many ways in which Asia can improve its hydropower infrastructure. One way is by increasing the number of reservoirs. This will allow for more water to be stored during the wet season and released during the dry season, providing a steadier supply of water for hydropower plants. Another way to improve hydropower infrastructure is by increasing the number of dams and weirs. This will help to regulate the flow of water and prevent floods. Finally, Asia can also improve its hydropower infrastructure by investing in better pumps and turbines. This will increase the efficiency of hydropower plants and make them more cost-effective.


Hydropower is a renewable energy source that has been used for centuries to generate electricity. In recent years, hydropower has become an increasingly popular option for countries in Asia as they look for ways to meet their growing energy needs. Hydropower is a clean and efficient source of electricity that can help Asian countries reduce their carbon emissions and improve their air quality. 

above images represent a few dams in India

sEARCH Posts



Lastest Posts