This article provides a list of the largest hydroelectric power stations by generating capacity. Only plants with capacity larger than 2,000 MW are listed.
The Three Gorges Dam in Hubei, China, has the world's largest instantaneous generating capacity (22,500 MW), with the Itaipu dam in Brazil/Paraguay in second place (14,000 MW). During the course of an entire year, the Itaipu dam generates more electricity (94.7 TWH) than the Three Gorges Dam (84.4 TWH) because the Three Gorges dam experiences six months per year when there is very little water available to generate power, while the Parana river that feeds the Itaipu dam has a much lower seasonal variance in flow. The giant Three Gorges Dam (22,500 MW when completed) is operated jointly with the much smaller Gezhouba Dam (3,115 MW). As of 2009[update], the total generating capacity of this two-dam complex is 21,515 MW. The whole project is planned to be completed in 2012, when the total generating capacity will be 25,615 MW. In 2008, this complex generated 97.9 TWh of electricity (80.8 TWh from the Three Gorges Dam and 17.1 TWh from the Gezhouba Dam), which is 3.4% more power in one year than the 94.7 TWh generated by Itaipu in 2008.
The Itaipu power plant on the Brazil-Paraguay border currently produces the most hydroelectricity power in the world from a single dam. With 20 generator units and 14,000 MW of installed capacity, in 2008 the Itaipu power plant reached a new historic record for electricity production by generating 94.68 terawatt-hours (340,800 TJ).
The Jinsha River (the upper stream of Yangtze River) complex is the largest hydroelectric generating system currently under construction. It has 3 phases. Phase one includes 4 dams on the downstream of the Jinsha River. They are Wudongde Dam, Baihetan Dam, Xiluodu Dam, and Xiangjiaba Dam, with generating capacity of 7,400 MW, 14,000 MW, 12,600 MW, and 6,000 MW respectively. The total generating capacity of those four dams is 40,000 MW. Construction of Xiluodu Dam started on December 26, 2005. Construction of Xiangjiaba Dam started on November 26, 2006. Phase one is planned to be completed in 2015. Phase two includes 8 dams on the middle stream of the Jinsha River. The total generating capacity is 21,150 MW. Phase three includes 8 dams on the upper stream of the Jinsha River. The total generating capacity is 8,980 MW. The total combined capacity of the Jinsha complex with the Three Gorges complex will be 95,745 MW.
There are also plans for the Grand Inga Dam, at the Inga Dam in the Congo River. Grand Inga would produce the most hydroelectricity power in the world in a single dam, with 52 generator units and 39,000 MW of installed capacity.
- Generating capacity is not the only factor determining the amount of electricity generated, as this also depends on consistent utilization of the plant's capacity. Factors enhancing this are the free capacity of the reservoir and the consistency of water supply during and across years.
- 26 generators installed October 2008, 6 more to be installed in 2011, at which point full generating capacity of 22,500 MW will be achieved.
- Three Gorges Dam article
- Itaipu article
- "Generation Records Fall at Grand Coulee Dam". U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Archived from the original on 2006-10-07. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
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- Combined with La Grande-2-A, it would place the LG-2 complex in 5th place
- Combined US-CA capacity >= 1.6 MW greater than this so would be about 10th place.
- Combined with Robert-Bourassa, it would place LG-2 complex in 5th place
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