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Plans for 3700 new dams

Infographic | 16-04-2018

In addition to the current 8600 larger dams, primarily designed for hydropower, 3700 new dams are planned, each with more than 1 MW capacity, over 500 of which are already under construction.

In 2010, circa 26% of the hydropower potential was being utilised (3.4PWh). From an economic perspective, in the coming decades, hydropower production could increase by 5.8 PWh, the equivalent of 70% of the estimated total technical potential of 13 PWh.

Ecological requirements would substantially lower hydropower potential, in many places around the world. This is especially the case for the river systems of high ecological quality of the Amazon and Congo, where hydropower potential would be close to zero if ecological quality is to be preserved. If all economic potential would be utilised, an estimated 8 million people could be at risk of displacement.

Source data

Gernaat, D.E., P.W. Bogaart, D.P. van Vuuren, H. Biemans & R. Niessink (2017), ‘High-resolution assessment of global technical and economic hydropower potential’, Nature Energy 2: 821–828

IEA (2017), World Energy Outlook. Paris: International Energy Agency

Lehner, B., C.R. Liermann, C. Revenga, C. Vörösmarty, B. Fekete, P. Crouzet, P. Döll, M. Endejan, K. Frenken, J. Magome, C. Nilsson, J.C. Robertson, R. Rödel, N. Sindorf & D. Wisser (2011), ‘High-resolution mapping of the world’s reservoirs and dams for sustainable river-flow management’, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 494–502

Zarfl, C., A.E. Lumsdon, J. Berlekamp, L. Tydecks & K. Tockner (2015), ‘A global boom in hydropower dam construction’, Aquatic Sciences 77 (1):161-170

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