Hydropower by the Numbers

The staggering numbers in the illustration above are just the beginning of an effort to quantify the size and impact of the hydro industry in the U.S. and Canada. Pretty impressive, huh?

By Elizabeth Ingram

I love numbers and statistics. And, we periodically get requests from readers of our magazine or website, asking for concrete, quantifiable data on North American hydroelectric facilities. So, this market outlook edition of Hydro Review afforded us an opportunity to look for and develop some of those numbers and statistics. It seems like they are not just readily available; it took some digging and quite a few phone calls.

On the following pages, you will see a series of tables providing some “big picture” data on hydropower in the U.S. and Canada. For example, there are lists of the 10 largest hydroelectric plants in North America by capacity (totaling 36,407 MW), the 10 utilities with the most hydroelectric generating capacity (a whopping 110,082 MW in total), the 10 largest hydro plants under construction (adding up to 4,764 MW) and all the projects whose Federal Energy Regulatory Commission operating licenses are up for renewal in 2015.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the data that could be developed on this vital industry. If there is other data you are looking for, email me at elizabethi@pennwell.com and I’ll see what we can do.

Talking dollars and cents

Hydroelectric power is big business. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any source that quantifies the total size (in dollars) of the hydropower market in North America. That being said, it’s clear from the data gathered in this article and the information reported on HydroWorld.com that hydropower in North America is a thriving industry.

Look for example at the 10 largest contract awards reported in 2014. Just these 10 awards total more than $1.65 billion. And what about the 10 largest financing deals reported during the past year? They amount to more than $18.7 billion! The rehabilitation market involves big dollars as well, with more than $2.36 billion being invested in work at 13 facilities we have been tracking. (Details on the rehab market will appear in the March issue.)

The tables on the following pages are intended to provide an overview of the current state of the North American hydropower industry, as well as a glimpse of where it is headed in the future. I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you what the future holds for hydro on this continent, but it looks pretty bright to me!

To view the two tables above in a larger format, please click here.

To view the above two tables, please click here.

Click here to view table above.

Please click here to view the above table.

Elizabeth Ingram is managing editor of Hydro Review.

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