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GLOBAL RENEWABLES ONLINE - JULY/AUGUST 2012
H
YDROPOWER I S GETT ING
enormous support from vari-
ous governments around the world,
through favorable policies and incen-
tives. The global hydropower market
increased to 1,072.1 Gigawatts (GW),
adding nearly 33.4 GW in 2011. Of all
the renewable energy sources, hydro-
power is one of the most widely used,
as it is inexpensive and is the oldest
form of renewable energy.
The global hydropower installed
capacity increased at a Compound
Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.6%
during 2006–2011. The global installed
capacity increased from 896.9 GW in
2006 to 1,072.1 GW in 2010. With sup-
port from various governments, the
global hydropower industry is expect-
ed to grow at a CAGR of 3.4% during
the forecast period of 2011–2020, there-
by reaching 1,443 GW by 2020.
NEED FOR ENERGY AND
ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY IS
PROMOTING SMALL HYDROPOWER
DEVELOPMENT
Global energy demand is rising
rapidly, especially in developing coun-
tries, due to an increase in populations
and industrialization. In order to meet
this demand, it has become necessary
to explore renewable energy sources,
as conventional sources have become
expensive due to depleting supplies.
Small hydro provides an excellent and
abundant source for power generation,
and does not have any fuel costs as it
uses water. It has emerged as one of
the most promising solutions for en-
suring a reliable and affordable energy
supply in the long term.
SMALL HYDROPOWER GENERATION
IS GAINING IMPORTANCE DUE TO
ITS SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL
BENEFITS
Small and mini hydropower gen-
eration plants have a shorter gestation
period. Large hydropower plants usu-
ally have a gestation period of about
seven years, whereas it is about two to
five years for smaller plants. Further-
more, small and mini hydro gives a
higher return on investment due to the
low capital investment and operational
and maintenance costs. Small and mini
hydropower plants are easier to con-
struct and commission due to simpler
designs, thus keeping the costs down.
Small and mini hydro facilitates
community participation and capitaliz-
es on local skills for plant construction.
In addition to the above, construction
of a small hydropower (SHP) plant
does not disturb the local habitat. SHP
installation does not involve the build-
ing of large dams and reservoirs, and
thus does not lead to the problems of
deforestation, submergence and re-
habilitation. Furthermore, it does not
require a large land area and thus can