In the last decade, Turkish electricity demand has increased more than 8% per annum as a result of economic development. Being one of the renewable energy sources par excellence, non-exhaustible, non-polluting and economically more attractive than other renewable sources, hydropower has turned out to be an important contributor to the future energy mix of the country. Turkey's renewable energy sources especially hydropower sources are plentiful and extensive, and represent the second-largest domestic energy sources after coal. Turkey has a total gross hydropower potential of 433 TWh/year and 140 TWh/year of this capacity can be used economically. Currently, Turkey has 172 hydroelectric power plants in operation with total installed capacity of 13,700 MW generating an average of 48,000 GWh/year, which is 35% of the economically viable hydroelectric potential. 148 hydroelectric power plants are under construction 8,600 MW of installed capacity to generate average annual 20,000 GWh representing 14% of the economically viable potential. The share of renewables in total electricity generation is 17%, while that of thermal is 80% in 2009. The projection for the period 2010-2020 is for annual growth of 8% in total electricity generation. The additional generation capacity needed up to 2020 will require huge investments. This paper deals with present situation and future prospect of renewable energy and the role of hydropower in Turkey. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.