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Hydro Power in Asia: Key Players, Projects, and Innovations

Hydro power is a significant contributor to renewable energy production in Asia. With the growth of the energy sector and the need for clean energy, the region is taking steps to utilise its abundant hydro power resources. This article looks at the key players in the hydro power industry, major projects, and innovations in the sector.

Key Players in Hydro Power in Asia

Alstom Hydro:

Alstom Hydro is a leading provider of hydro power solutions in Asia. Its technology, which includes turbines and generators, is highly efficient and advanced, providing optimal power output. The company has over 100 years of experience and collaboration with over 1500 hydro power clients across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Voith Hydro:

Voith Hydro is a global leader in the hydro power industry. Its technology is used in over 60 countries worldwide. The company offers a wide range of products and services, including turbines, generators, and hydropower plants. It also provides maintenance, repair, and upgrade solutions for existing hydro power plants.

General Electric:

General Electric is a major player in the hydro power industry globally. Its Energy division provides hydro power solutions to over 50 countries, including Asia. The company offers a range of products and services, including turbines, generators, and other equipment.

Major Hydro Power Projects in Asia

Three Gorges Dam (China):

The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydro power project, located in China. It generates 22,500 MW of electricity and supplies approximately 10% of China’s power needs. The project took 17 years to complete and cost USD 29 billion.

Bakun Dam (Malaysia):

The Bakun Dam, located in Sarawak, Malaysia, is one of the largest dams in Southeast Asia. It generates 2400 MW of electricity and supplies up to 10% of Malaysia’s energy needs. The project took over a decade to complete and cost MYR 7.4 billion (USD 1.8 billion).

Innovations in Hydro Power in Asia

Pumped Storage Technology:

Pumped storage is a type of hydro power technology that stores excess energy generated in off-peak hours, to be used later when the demand is high. This technology is becoming increasingly popular in Asia. Japan, for example, has over 24 GW of pumped storage capacity, which accounts for over 10% of the country’s power capacity.

Smart Grid Systems:

Smart grid technology is being implemented in hydro power plants across Asia, enabling efficient communication between the power plant and energy grid. Smart grid systems help to optimise energy output, reduce energy losses, and improve overall efficiency.

What ever way you look at this. Hydro power presents a significant opportunity for Asia to increase its supply of clean energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Key players like Alstom Hydro, Voith Hydro, and General Electric will continue to innovate and bring new hydro power solutions to the region. Major projects like Three Gorges Dam and Bakun Dam demonstrate the potential of hydro power in meeting Asia’s energy needs. With the implementation of innovative technologies like pumped storage and smart grid systems, hydro power is set to play a crucial role in Asia’s energy mix for years to come.

Hydro Power as a Solution to Energy Poverty in Asia

Energy poverty is a major challenge in several Asian countries, where a significant portion of the population lacks access to electricity. Electricity access is essential for socio-economic development as it enables access to education, healthcare, and modern communication technology. To address energy poverty, governments in key Asian countries should look towards hydro power to provide a sustainable and affordable solution. In this article, we will explore why hydro power is an excellent solution to energy poverty in Asia.

The Challenge of Energy Poverty in Asia

Energy poverty refers to the lack of access to electricity and modern energy services that are essential for improving the standard of living. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), over 200 million people in Southeast Asia alone lack access to electricity. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, where infrastructure costs are high, and grid connectivity is limited. Poor households may need to rely on inefficient and expensive sources of energy for cooking, such as traditional biomass or kerosene, which have negative health and environmental impacts.

Key Advantages of Hydro Power

Hydro power has several key advantages over other renewable energy sources that make it an ideal solution to energy poverty in Asia.


Hydro power is a reliable source of energy that provides base-load capacity to the grid. Unlike intermittent renewables such as solar and wind, hydro power plants can operate continuously to provide a steady supply of electricity. This is important for powering essential services such as hospitals and schools that cannot afford to experience power outages.


Hydro power projects can be designed to meet the needs of communities of different sizes, from small-scale systems to power rural villages to large-scale hydro power plants that can supply energy to urban centers.

Low Cost:

Hydro power is one of the most cost-effective types of renewable energy, with low operational and maintenance costs compared to other technologies such as solar and wind. In addition, once the initial capital costs are recouped, hydro power has a longer lifespan than other technologies.

Environmental Benefits:

Hydro power is a low-carbon source of energy that does not emit any greenhouse gases. It is also less disruptive to the environment than other types of renewable energy, such as wind turbines, which can lead to visual and noise pollution.

Examples of Hydro Power in Action

Several countries in Asia are already using hydro power as a solution to energy poverty. For example:


Nepal is one of the least developed countries in Asia, with over 40% of its population lacking access to electricity. The country has significant potential for hydro power, with over 40,000 MW of potential capacity. In recent years, the government has focused on developing small-scale hydro power projects to provide energy to rural communities.


Indonesia has significant hydro power potential, with over 75,000 MW of unexploited hydro capacity. The government has recently launched a program to develop small-scale hydro power plants to provide energy to remote communities.


India has the largest hydro power potential in South Asia, with an estimated 148,701 MW of potential capacity. The government has focused on developing large-scale hydro projects to meet its energy needs, including the 3,097 MW Tehri Hydro Power Complex.


Hydro power is an ideal solution to energy poverty in Asia due to its reliability, scalability, low cost, and environmental benefits. Governments in key Asian countries should consider investing in hydro power as a way of providing sustainable and affordable energy to their citizens. With the right policies and incentives, hydro power has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in Asia who currently lack access to electricity. 


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