Subscribe to the Elements free mailing list for more like this
Visualizing the World’s Largest Hydroelectric Dams
Did you know that hydroelectricity is the world’s biggest source of renewable energy? According to recent figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), it represents 40% of total capacity, ahead of solar (28%) and wind (27%).
This type of energy is generated by hydroelectric power stations, which are essentially large dams that use the water flow to spin a turbine. They can also serve secondary functions such as flow monitoring and flood control.
To help you learn more about hydropower, we’ve visualized the five largest hydroelectric dams in the world, ranked by their maximum output.
Overview of the Data
The following table lists key information about the five dams shown in this graphic, as of 2021. Installed capacity is the maximum amount of power that a plant can generate under full load.
|China||Three Gorges Dam||Yangtze River||22.5||181 x 2,335|
|Brazil / Paraguay||Itaipu Dam||Parana River||14.0||196 x 7,919|
|China||Xiluodu Dam||Jinsha River||13.9||286 x 700|
|Brazil||Belo Monte Dam||Xingu River||11.2||90 X 3,545|
|Venezuela||Guri Dam||Caroni River||10.2||162 x 7,426|
At the top of the list is China’s Three Gorges Dam, which opened in 2003. (Read more...)