The capacity of small-sized hydropower generation facilities in North Korea more than doubled over the past three years, a United Nations report showed Thursday, as the country is struggling with chronic electricity shortages.
According to the report by the U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), North Korea secured power generating capacity of 83.2 MW by using so-called small hydropower facilities last year.
It was much higher than the 33 MW estimated in 2016.
Small hydropower refers to power plants with a capacity of 10 MW or less. Building such power plants costs less and causes less of a harmful impact on the surrounding environment.
North Korea has been promoting the construction of small hydropower plants to tackle chronic electricity shortages caused by climate change and crippling international sanctions restricting imports of key materials.
"Electricity generation in the DPRK has been affected by climate change and the sanctions of the United Nations Security Council," the report said, using the acronym of the North's official name.
"Many areas outside of Pyongyang receive a modest amount of power, and power outages are a regular occurrence throughout the country," it added.
Pyongyang's state media has frequently called electricity a "lifeline" and a "heart" that props up the people's livelihoods and the economy.
In December, North Korea announced the completion of a large-scale dam in its northeastern region, calling it a "product of self-reliance."