The hydro-electric power plants at Darjeeling and Shimsha were established in 1898 and 1902 respectively and were among the first in Asia.
India is endowed with economically exploitable and viable hydro potential assessed to be about 84,000 MW at 60% load factor. In addition, 6740 MW in terms of installed capacity from Small, Mini, and Micro Hydel schemes have been assessed. Also, 56 sites for pumped storage schemes with an aggregate installed capacity of 94,000 MW have been identified. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy. India is blessed with immense amount of hydro-electric potential and ranks 5th in terms of exploitable hydro-potential on global scenario.
The present installed capacity as of 31 May 2014 is approximately 40,661.41 MW which is 16.36% of total electricity generation in India. The public sector has a predominant share of 97% in this sector. National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Northeast Electric Power Company (NEEPCO), Satluj jal vidyut nigam (SJVNL), Tehri Hydro Development Corporation, NTPC-Hydro are a few public sector companies engaged in development of hydroelectric power in India.