With the increasing pressure of environmental protection and energy saving and emission reduction, China issued a series of policies to encourage the development of clean energy. Hydraulic power generation is a renewable clean energy, characteristic of established technology, low cost, flexible operation and stability. Speeding up the development and utilization of abundant hydropower resources becomes an important measure to effectively increase the supply of clean energy, optimize energy structure, safeguard energy security, respond to climate change and fulfill sustainable development. Therefore, many countries in the world place hydropower development in the priority of energy development.
At present, a large number of hydropower stations under construction are about to be put into operation. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, the abandoned hydropower capacity only in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces alone might soar to over 100 billion kWh. For this purpose, the government's work report of 2017 proposed to solve the mechanism and technical problems, give priority to the protection of power generation by renewable energy and reduce the possibility where water, wind and light energies were wasted.
According to "Ten Measures to Promote Electricity Price Reform in 2017" issued by Sichuan Province in May 2017, nearly half of total water energy was wasted. In October 2017, the Development and Reform Commission released “Notice on Promoting Hydropower Consumption in Southwest China”. This notice included 11 measures, including strengthening the overall planning, acceleration of the construction of hydropower transmission channels. This re-energized hydropower industry with new driving forces.
According to the “Analysis Report on Market Prospects and Investment Strategic Planning of Hydropower Industry” published by Prospective Industry Research Institute, China's hydropower output reached 1,051.8 billion kWh in 2016, an increase of 5.9%; and reached 1,081.88 billion kWh in 2017, an increase of 3.4%. Based on the above factors, the Prospective Industry Research Institute predicts that China's hydropower output will reach 1,166.6 billion kWh in 2018, and will reach 1,456.8 billion kWh in 2022.
By the end of 2014, the total installed capacity of hydropower plants in China was 301.83 million kW, an increase of 7.9% over the same period of last year; by the end of 2015, the number reached 319.37 million kW, an increase of 4.9% over the same period of last year; and by the end of 2016, it was about 332.11 million kW, an increase of 3.9% over the same period of last year. It is estimated that the total installed capacity of China's hydropower plants will reach 366 million kW in 2018, and will reach 439 million kW in 2022.
The analysts of Prospective Industry Research Institute point out that China's hydropower industry is now in the growing stage, and the proportion of installed capacity of hydropower is still lower than the world level. Besides, the hydropower industry in China has not fully developed into a stage of maturity where the electricity generation price of hydropower gets completely connected with hydropower generation price. If such a connection is fulfilled, the profits of the hydropower industry will increase substantially. At the same time, there are still a lot of problems to be solved, including the relocation and resettlement of original residents, environmental protections, etc. But thanks to the huge potential of hydropower resources in China, there will be large rooms for development as long as the government greatly shows policy supports.