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Small Hydro Power

Small Hydro Power

Also indexed as: SHP

ESHA - European Small Hydropower Association BELGIUM

Further information:

Hydropower is the use of water to generate electricity. Approximately 70% of the earth's surface is covered with water, a resource that has been exploited for many centuries. The use of hydropower has been characterised by continuous technical development, and it is currently the second most used renewable energy source in the world, just behind solid biomass. Hydro supplies the vast majority of renewable electricity, generating 16.6% of world supply and 92% of total renewable energy electricity (IEA, 2003).

There is no international consensus on the definition of small hydropower (SHP). In China, it can refer to capacities of up to 25 MW, in India up to 15 MW and in Sweden small means up to 1.5 MW. However, a capacity of up to 10 MW total is becoming the generally accepted norm by ESHA (European Small Hydropower Association), the European Commission and UNIPEDE (International Union of Producers and Distributors of Electricity).

Asia, especially China, is set to become a leader in hydro-electric generation. Present developments in Australia and New Zealand are focussing on small hydropower plants. Canada, a country with a long tradition in using hydropower, is developing small hydropower as a replacement for expensive diesel generation in remote off-grid communities. Markets such as South America, the former Soviet Union and Africa also possess great, untapped potential.

The World Energy Council (WEC) estimates that under current policies, installed capacity of small hydro will increase to 55 GW by 2010 with the largest increase coming from China. In the year 2000 the world-installed capacity of small hydropower was about 37 GW. All regions of the world are experiencing significant increases in small hydro capacity, with China again showing the greatest increase.

Case Studies & Reports

Programmes and Projects

ManagEnergy - Supporting Local and Regional Energy Actors

Renewable energy in Chile

Case Studies

Good Practice: Construction and operation of a Small Hydro Power Plant, Treshtena, Bulgaria

Good Practice: Construction and operation of a Small Hydro Power Plant, Tamrash, Bulgaria

Good Practice: Varja and Chaskman small hydro projects of Vindhyachal Hydro Power Ltd, Maharashtra, India

Project Partners Requests

PIN: Ma'er Small Hydropower Project, PR China

PIN: Laopokou Small Hydropower Project, PR China

PIN: Beihe II Small Hydropower Project, PR China

Publications and Other Reports

Sustainable Energy Technologies and RTD practice at the ETS and CDM markets: An inspiration for the various market actors in Europe and the world

Technology & Service Providers


Andritz Hydro GmbH

Gugler Hydro Energy GmbH


ESHA - European Small Hydropower Association

JLA & Co bvba


IC-SHP - International Center on Small Hydropower Secretariat


CINK Hydro - Energy ks

CKD Blansko Holding, a. s.


Hydrolink, s.r.o.






Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH


WKV Wasserkraft Volk AG

Wiegert and Bahr


Vindhyachal Hydro Power Ltd


IREM S.p.A. Hydro Division

Orengine International Limited

Sarner Turbinemechanik


MADEX sp Zoo


Litostroj Power


Acciona Energía

IGINSA Ibérica de Gestión Industrial


Alstom Power Sweden AB

Cargo & Kraft Turbin Sverige AG

Vattenfall Power Consultant


Bertholet & Mathis - Gasa SA

Groupement CEREC Engineering/TELSA Electrotec


Envima (Thailand) Co Ltd


NHT Engineering