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Hydropower uses the force or energy of moving water to generate power. This power is also called ‘hydroelectricity’.

Hydropower is generated when falling water is channeled through water turbines. The pressure of the flowing water on turbine blades rotates a shaft and drives an electrical generator, converting the motion into electrical energy.

Hydropower is the most advanced and mature renewable energy technology, and provides some level of electricity generation in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Hydropower plants range from very small to very large individual plants and vast integrated schemes involving multiple large hydropower plants.

Our key hydropower project provided knowledge to improve the design and operation of small hydro systems, where much of the potential expansion of hydropower production exists. The impact of this project has gone world-wide, attracting interest from the United States, Indonesia and the Mekong.

How is hydropower used in Australia?

In 2013, Australia had over 120 operating hydroelectric power stations, with a total generation of almost 20 GWh or 8% of total energy generated.

In the future there may be some growth in use of ’mini-hydro’ schemes—which can be ‘run-of-river’, with no dam or water storage, or developed using existing or new dams whose primary purpose is local water supply, river and lake water-level control, or irrigation.

In 2029–30, the share of hydropower in Australia’s total electricity generation is projected to fall to around 3.5%.

Take a look at our hydropower projects.