Small-scale and micro hydropower technologies are helping bring distributed electricity generation to remote areas around the world. The impacts on the environment are negligible and the economics are competitive. The worldwide market potential is fairly small in terms of overall megawatts (MWs) but for those locations without power today, a new micro-hydro system can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.
The International Small Hydro Atlas provides a nice definition of the various sizes of hydropower projects:
There is no International consensus on the definition of small hydropower. In Canada ‘small’ can refer to upper limit capacities of between 20 and 25 MW, in the United States ‘small’ can mean 30 MW, however, a value of up to 10 MW total capacity is becoming generally accepted. Small hydro can be further subdivided into mini hydro (usually defined as