The primary objective of this study was to apply the ANN (artificial neural network) model with the ABC (artificial bee colony) algorithm to estimate annual hydraulic energy production of Turkey. GEED (gross electricity energy demand), population, AYT (average yearly temperature), and energy consumption were selected as independent variables in the model. The first part of the study compared ANN-ABC model performance with results of classical ANN models trained with the BP (back propagation) algorithm. Mean square and relative error were applied to evaluate model accuracy. The test set errors emphasized positive differences between the ANN-ABC and classical ANN models. After determining optimal configurations, three different scenarios were developed to predict future hydropower generation values for Turkey. Results showed the ANN-ABC method predicted hydroelectric generation better than the classical ANN trained with the BP algorithm. Furthermore, results indicated future hydroelectric generation in Turkey will range from 69.1 to 76.5 TWh in 2021, and the total annual electricity demand represented by hydropower supply rates will range from 14.8% to 18.0%. However, according to Vision 2023 agenda goals, the country plans to produce 30% of its electricity demand from renewable energy sources by 2023, and use 20% less energy than in 2010. This percentage renewable energy provision cannot be accomplished unless changes in energy policy and investments are not addressed and implemented. In order to achieve this goal, the Turkish government must reconsider and raise its own investments in hydropower, wind, solar, and geothermal energy, particularly hydropower. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.