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List of World’s Largest Hydroelectricity Plants and Countries – China Leading in building Hydroelectric Stations

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Hydroelectricity power plants are the biggest power stations in the world dwarfing the biggest nuclear and coal power projects.The world’s biggest power plant is the Three Gorge Dam in China which at 22.5 GW is more than 50% larger than the 2nd biggest power station in the world.Most of the world’s largest hydroelectricity plants in the world are situation in China and South America.North America also has some of the larger hydro power plants.China is the by far the world leader in hydro power plant capacity with around 200 GW which it aims to double to around 400 GW  by 2020.Other major hydroelectricity countries are Canada,USA,Brazil and India.Note Hydroelectricity is responsible for producing around 20% of the world’s electricity.Here are some of the major world hydroelectricity power plants .

1) The Three Gorges Dam the world’s largest capacity hydroelectric dam in the world with a capacity of around 22.5 GW .The 3 Gorge Dam has an astounding 26 Turbines of  700 MW totaling 18.2 GW which were completed in 2008.The plant is expanding further to 22.5 by 2012.The Dam has been very controversial with both opponents and proponents.The Dam displace a lot of people and resulted in flooding of historical sites.However its pluses are that it has increasing flood control and increased the shipping capacity of the Yangtze river

2) TheItaipu Hydroelectricity Power Plant on the Brazil  is the second largest power plant in the world.. With 20 generator units and 14,000 MW of installed capacity,the Dam was completed in 2003 making it the biggest in that time.

3) The Guri Dam in Venezuela is the 3rd biggest hydroelectricity power plant in the world with a capacity of 10.2 GW.The Hydroelectric Power station Guri was constructed in the Necuima Canyon, 100 kilometers upstream from the mouth of the Caroní River in the Orinoco.The Guri dam alone supplies 73% of Venezuela’s electricity.

4) Tucuruí Dam is located on the Tucuruí County in the State of Para,Brazil has a capacity of almost 8.5 GW.The main portion Tucuruí Dam is a 78 m high and 6.9 km long concrete-gravity dam.This dam was started in 1975 and has suffered from massive cost overruns.

5) The Grand Coulee Hydroelectric Power Plant is the the largest hydro project in the USA.It consists of 3 power plants and is the largest source of electricity production in USA.The Coulee Dam has a total capacity of almost 7000 MW and helps in irrigation as well.

6) The Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam in Russia is the largest power plant in Russia and the world’s sixth-largest hydroelectric plant.The Hydroelectric Power Plant was built by 1978 after almost 17 years.he total installed capacity of the plant is 6,400 MW; its average annual production is 23.5 TWh.The plant is run by RusHydro

7) The Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant is built on the Yenisey River in Russia.It was completed in 1972 and has 6000 MW of power capacity.The Krasnoyarsk dam has greatly affected the local climate.

8) The Robert-Bourassa Hydroelectric Power Plant is built on the Le Grande River in Quebec,Canada.The two plants taken together account for around 5600 MW of capacity.This is the largest power plant in Canada.

9) The Churchill Falls Generating Station is a hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 5400 MW is the second largest in Canada.The plant like others in North America is relatively old built almost 40 years ago.

10) The Longtan Dam in Honshui River in Guangxi,China has a current capacity of more than 2 GW and will have a total of 6.4 GW when it is completed.

Countries with the most Hydroelectric Capacity

Hydroelectricity is one of the most important sources of energy in the world.Many countries in the Nordic region and South America are almost completely dependent on hydro power for their energy needs.Venezuela,Norway  and Paraguay are almost 100% dependent on hydro power.Paraguay due to the Itati Dam exports a massive portion to neighbouring countries as well.Brazil,Switzerland,New Zealand are some other countries with a very high percentage of hydro power.Here are the largest installed capacities of hydroelectricity in countries.

  1. China 200 GW
  2. Canada 89 GW
  3. USA 80 GW
  4. Brazil 70 GW
  5. Russia 45 GW
  6. India 33 GW
  7. Norway 27 GW
  8. Japan 27 GW
  9. Venezuela 15 GW


Hydroelectricity is one of the cheapest and non-polluting sources of power.Though it can cause ecological damage initially it has better climate compatibility than other major forms of energy like nuclear,coal,gas and others.For some countries like China and India with massive energy needs,Hydroelectricity is the only option currently amongst non-global warming energy choices to build in large capacities.

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Abhishek Shah

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Oulin

    This classification is questionable, since the Three Gorges is the largest by capacity, but Itaipu is by far the largest one in actual output.

  2. Thabang Choshi

    I would like to bring One of the Hdroelectric Company on. Africa to build the biggest plant in Central African countries