The United States has become the largest hydroelectric producer in the world, and the United States alone produces about 3 percent of all the electricity generated by hydroelectric dams in the U.S. According to a report from the International Energy Agency, the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, India and Japan have each produced more than half of the world’s hydroelectric capacity.
But as the United Nations has recently pointed out, the world is losing hydroelectric potential due to climate change, rising sea levels and increased demand for electricity in developing countries.
What’s the answer?
Some experts believe that a new generation of large-scale hydroelectric projects in Asia and Europe could help to alleviate the current shortfall of energy supply, which is being exacerbated by climate change.
These new projects could also potentially reduce the amount of coal-fired power plants in the region, and help the country meet its energy needs in the coming decades.
The United Kingdom and Germany, for example, are the two countries with the most hydroelectric resources.
Both countries have already begun building new dams and power plants, but the construction of the first of these, a 2.5-megawatt project in Northumberland, England, is expected to begin in 2020.
“The new windfarms could bring power to many more of the UK and German communities and could have a much wider and longer-lasting impact on the energy system,” said Peter Cuddington, senior energy economist at the London-based think tank Chatham House.
“It could also reduce the need for coal-based power stations and give the UK a boost in its transition away from fossil fuels.”
Some of these new projects are currently in the planning stages.
In 2016, China built its largest hydro-electric project, a 1.9-megahydric project called the Northern Wind Farm, which will produce about 5 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
In China, the construction and maintenance of these large-capacity projects is often required because of the large size of the wind farms.
However, as China continues to expand its hydroelectric network, some countries are looking to build smaller, cheaper, and faster-triggered projects.
In fact, China has been considering building more than 100 smaller projects for more than a decade.
The most recent example of this is the new 3.5 megawatt “wind farm” planned by China’s Tianjin Electric Power Corp. The company is constructing a 5-kilometer (3.8-mile) project at an altitude of 1,000 meters (4,000 feet), and it is also building a 6-kilometers (4.4-mile)-wide (11-mile-long) wind farm at an elevation of about 1,500 meters (5,000) feet.
The new turbines could provide power to up to 1 million households and generate up to 15 gigawatts (GW) of electricity annually.
These smaller projects are expected to generate up-to-30 gigawatts of electricity each year.
According the IEA, the majority of China’s hydro-power capacity is located in the countrys northern coastal regions, which account for about 85 percent of its total energy needs.
“With China increasing its hydro capacity by building more dams, and building more wind farms, this could make the region more energy-rich,” said Cuddeter.
“We’re now seeing the start of this new generation in the UK.
It’s very likely that the next generation of hydro projects will also begin in the United Arab Emirates and UAE.”