Ten hydropower superpowers

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Visually stunning and marvels of engineering, hydropower facilities are becoming increasingly important sources of renewable energy, with the International Energy Agency describing hydropower as "the largest single renewable electricity source today."

Here, Sustainable Energy takes a look at 10 countries embracing hydropower, and the impact it's having on their energy mix.

Figures for gigawatt (GW) capacity are for 2015 and from the International Hydropower Association (IHA).


FRANCE – 25.4 GW

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In Europe, France is one of the biggest players when it comes to installed hydropower capacity.

TURKEY – 25.9 GW

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The IHA describes Turkey as being one of "Europe's leading markets for future hydropower development due to a combination of abundant resources, a supportive government, and favorable policy framework."

Pictured here is the Ataturk Dam, located on the Euphrates River.


NORWAY - 30.6 GW

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While Norway may be rich in oil, it is also a big player when it comes to hydropower.

State owned renewable energy business Statkraft says that 99 percent of power production in Norway derives from hydropower, and that there are more than 270 hydropower plants in the country.

JAPAN – 49.9 GW

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The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan describes hydroelectric power as being "one of the few self-sufficient energy resources" in the "resource-poor" country.

The generating facility supplied by the Sakuma Dam, pictured here, has a capacity of 0.35 GW, according to utility J-Power.


RUSSIA – 50.6 GW

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While Russia may be a huge producer of oil and gas, hydropower is also a big deal there.

According to RusHydro, there are more than 100 hydropower plants in the country, accounting for just over 20 percent of the country's electricity production.

INDIA – 51.5 GW

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One of the most populous countries on earth, the IHA describes India as possessing the potential to "develop a total of around 148 GW of installed hydropower capacity."

In 2015, India added 1.9 GW of capacity.


CANADA – 79.2 GW

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According to the Canadian government, the country had more than 540 hydroelectric stations as of 2014.

The Seven Sisters Generating Station on the Winnipeg River, pictured here, was completed in 1952 and has a capacity of nearly 0.2 GW, according to Manitoba Hydro.


BRAZIL – 91.7 GW

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Located between Paraguay and Brazil, the giant Itaipu Dam is featured in this week's episode of Sustainable Energy.

According to Itaipu Binacional, the facility generated 103 million megawatt hours of energy in 2016, a new record.

The dam provides roughly 17 percent of energy used in Brazil and 76 percent of energy used in Paraguay.


USA – 101.8 GW

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, hydropower represents the "largest renewable energy source for electricity generation in the United States."

According to the United States Bureau of Reclamation the Hoover Dam, pictured here, generates an average of around 4,000 GW-hours of power every year. This is enough to meet the needs of 1.3 million people.


CHINA – 319.4 GW

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A titan of hydropower, China's facilities include the vast Three Gorges Dam, which has a capacity of 22.5 GW.