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GlobalData says small hydropower is making a worldwide splash


July 24, 2012
By Anthony Capkun

July 24, 2012 – Support from governments around the world is making hydropower a key renewable energy source, says GlobalData, and small hydropower (SHP) plants “are exhibiting impressive growth thanks to numerous advantages over larger plants”.

According to a report from GlobalData, the global installed hydropower capacity increased from 896.9GW in 2006 to 1072.1GW in 2011, and is expected to climb to 1443 GW by 2020 thanks to support from governments around the world.

“Renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular as conventional sources become more expensive due to decreasing reserves, and countries aim to minimize their carbon footprint,” says GlobalData, whose research suggests that, thanks to its reliable and affordable nature, SHP has emerged as one of the most favoured and promising solutions.

Small and mini hydro facilities are gaining importance as their effect on the environment—and national budgets—is less substantial, explains GlobalData, adding the construction of SHP plants does not disturb the local habitat and the building of large dams and reservoirs is unnecessary, thereby avoiding issues of deforestation and submergence.

SHP plants are consequently much quicker to construct and also offer higher rates of return due to the low capital investment and operational and maintenance costs, continues the business intelligence provider. “Their implementation also carries positive social benefits as they encourage community participation and capitalize on local skills for plant construction.”