Mini hydro market
Even though fossil fuels dominate electricity generation across the world, more than 60 countries use hydropower for meeting more than half of their electricity needs, according to research from Global Data. The technology’s popularity is partially driven by its ability to rapidly respond to changing electricity demand, water management, and flood control.
Small Hydropower Advantage
Small and mini-hydropower generation plants boast a shorter gestation period, roughly two to five years, compared to large hydropower plants, which usually have a gestation period of about seven years. Additionally, small and mini-hydro yield a higher return on investment due to the low capital investment, construction, and operational and maintenance costs. In addition to several other advantages, construction of a small hydropower plant does not disturb the local habitat as is the case with large hydropower plants. Small hydropower installation does not involve the building of large dams and reservoirs and thus does not lead to the problems of deforestation, submergence, and rehabilitation. Furthermore, it does not require a large land area and thus can be constructed in areas with small streams of water and small to medium rivers.
Global Small Hydropower Cumulative Installations on the Rise
Annual installed capacity surged during 2004 mainly due to rise in new installations in China, according to Global Data. Given the advantages of generating electricity from small hydropower coupled with rising interest in the sector has led to increased government support policies which will derive installations in many countries in the years to come. Cumulative installed capacity of small hydropower is expected to reach 140 GW in 2015 and 201 GW in 2020.