Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Small Hydropower Market Analysis

One notable driver of small hydropower is the low generation cost compared to other off-grid renewable technologies. This information comes from a deeper analysis that Transparency Market Research published in a new report titled, Small Hydropower Market, by Installed Capacity – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth Trends, and Forecast, 2015 — 2023.

The report explains that the global small hydropower market installed capacity stood at 110.77 GW in 2014, and that’s expected to reach 146.65 GW by 2023 at a CAGR of 2.85% from 2015 to 2023 (not the growth we’re used to seeing in the wind and solar markets). As well, the high-level analysis furnishes a comprehensive view of the small hydropower business globally. A sample of the report can be viewed here.

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 2.45.10 PM (4) (2)


Small hydropower (SHP) provides an emission-free renewable source of electricity, as with solar power and wind energy. SHP can be used off the grid or on the grid. The establishment of small hydro is often built using existing dams. It is sometimes constructed within the flow of the river, known as run of river. Perfect for areas where there is no electric infrastructure, SHP systems consist of transformers, generators, turbines, and reservoirs. No harmful gasses, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants.

press release highlights some of the findings, pointing out that SHP has no international denomination, and so its upper limit varies from country to country. “In Canada it ranges up to 50 MW and in Brazil it ranges up to 30 MW; however, 10 MW total capacity is accepted worldwide. Capacity utilization and plant load factor for small hydropower plants are high when compared to other renewable sources of energy.”

The report breaks the small hydropower market into five regions: North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and South and Central America.

  • Asia Pacific shows as the largest market for small hydropower — 70.3% of the global market in 2014. China (which offers tax credits for SHP) is the forerunner. After China, India and Japan move into the next leadership positions.
  • The second-largest market for SHP in 2014 is Europe, with Italy as the leader there. Italy shows comprehensive policies and substantial funding for market development.
  • North America comes in third. Predictably, the US and Canada are the leading countries in this market.

The research finds significant leaders in the small hydropower market include Voith GmbH, ANDRITZ HYDRO GmbH, Alstom S.A., BC Hydro, and StatKraft AS.

Some related research mentioned in an earlier CleanTechnica post, “Small-Scale Hydroelectric Can Help To Regenerate ‘Deprived’ Rural Areas,” focused more on the economic/job creation benefits of small hydropower. The job creation arrives mostly from “the fact that micro-hydroelectric (another name for small hydro) is an embedded technology relying on local know-how and materials (rather than one relying on large amounts of imported expertise, as with larger projects).”

Enjoy a bit of history of simple water-powered mills in the US and think of constructing one yourself:

Related: Massachusetts Considering Net Metering For Small Hydropower Projects Over 60 kW

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

Replacing the fossil-fueled energy supply with renewable energy requires unusual focus and substantial investment in the electricity sector.

Clean Power

With such a groundswell of solar growth, what can limit the performance of PV systems? The answer is dust, or other forms of soiling...

Climate Change

Most energy companies today report on their climate, environmental, and social impacts. In the EU, they are even legally obliged to do so. But...

Clean Power

A few months ago, we wrote about Republican millionaire Jay Faison’s apparent attempt to bring some sanity to Republican politics and push for solutions...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.