Worldwide there is a growing trend to plan hydro projects that meet both local demand and the export market. For example, Bhutan and India are jointly developing ten projects in Bhutan with a combined capacity of 11,576 MW to supply both markets. Brazil is studying the feasibility of 7,566 MW worth of projects in Peru and 3,800 MW in Bolivia in conjunction with the respective governments. There are even plans for a 1,800 MW hydro project in Papua New Guinea that will supply electricity to local remote village and rural communities to communities in Australia via an interconnection to Townsville in Queensland.
The main barrier to getting these projects off the ground is poor access to finance. Several Chinese banks are offering financing for both domestic and international projects, especially in Africa. Usually these projects use Chinese companies such as Sinohydro, which constructs hydro projects, and Dong fang, a manufacturer of hydro turbines. Korean companies are also making inroads into the international market through collaborations. For example, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is planning to develop hydro projects in Georgia and the Korea International Cooperation Agency has announced plans to finance US $1.8 billion worth of hydro projects in Tajikistan.

More ‘environmentally friendly’ hydro products are likely to enter the market in the future as the environmental impact of projects along with local opposition from tribal groups are significant barriers to the development of projects. In China many hydro projects are on hold pending environmental review. In North America hydro projects in tribal lands need the consent of the local community to go ahead. Not to mention projects in the Amazon basin can involve the relocation of tribal communities.

In the developed world pumped storage is going to keep a pace with growth of intermittent renewable capacity. Small hydro is likely to continue to grow in Europe due to generous feed-in tariffs. Canada and he USA are likely to continue uprating existing facilities. Large projects may be fewer and far between, especially projects with limited storage capacity. As their output is highly dependent upon rainfall, and future rainfall patterns are very hard to predict, and how they might be affected by climate change