Germany has the largest annual electricity demand and generation capacity in Europe, and the largest power system. At roughly 14.7 GW, hydropower installations including pumped storage account for around 7.5% of the total national generation. They produce approximately 20,000 GWh net electricity generation annually.
Within a fleet of about 7,300 hydropower plants, 94% have an installed capacity of less than 1 MW. Around 86% of Germany’s annual hydropower energy production comes from the 436 plants with an installed capacity of more than 1 MW, corresponding to a share of some 6%.
Currently, several new hydropower projects are under development and were expected to come online by 2020. However, due to current market and policy conditions, some projects have been postponed or canceled. Nevertheless, there are notable requirements for modernization and large overhauls at a number of facilities over the next few years.
Germany is committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and has set medium-term targets for CO2 emissions and renewable energy sources that are even more ambitious. They include plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% and achieve an 18% share of gross energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. The energy transition (Energiewende) is the transition to a sustainable economy by means of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Alongside wind and solar PV, hydropower will play a major role here.