Although hydro power in the U.S. is politically incorrect, even though it generates no greenhouse gases and is by far the largest renewable resource in the country’s generating mix, the rest of the world often has a more sanguine approach to using water to generate electricity. For example:

  • Kyrgyzstan, reports Radio Free Europe, will commission the first 120-MW unit of  the Kambarata-2 hydro project in May. Two more 120-MW units will follow.
  • The government of Myanmar is encouraging new private investment in big hydro under build, operate, and transfer contracts. The country added a new 600-MW hydro generating station to its generating portfolio last May. The government estimates hydro will add nearly 3,500 MW of new capacity over the next five years.
  • The European Union is planning a massive, $43 billion interconnected grid to link offshore wind generation with pumped-storage hydro onshore, potentially overcoming the problem of the lack of wind dispatchability.
  • German energy giant RWE and a local British water utility, Northumbrian Water, plan a small, 750-KW hydro project at the water utility’s Selset Reservoir in northeast England. The project would add capacity to the utility’s existing Kielder Water reservoir project, which has a generating capacity of 12 MW.
  • India and Bhutan recently signed agreements to cooperate and coordinate on four major hydro projects, totaling nearly 3,000 MW of generating capacity. Bhutan’s demand amounts to about 400 MW, and the country currently generates 1,500 MW, all hydro. The bulk of the new capacity will flow to India, as does the current excess generation, making hydro power a major Bhutanese export earner.