Small hydropower (SHP) plants provide a clean, renewable and inexpensive source of energy that can be implemented virtually anywhere where there is enough water. A great solution for supplying electricity in remote rural areas, its usefulness is clear, yet its potential remains largely untapped. A new series of guidance documents has just been published with the aim of stimulating the market everywhere, particularly where it is needed most.
The three-part ISO IWA 33, Technical guidelines for the development of small hydropower plants, specifies the general principles and basic requirements of design for SHP projects up to 30 MWe. The International Workshop Agreement also provides guidance on such things as the methodologies, procedures and outcome requirements of SHP site selection and defines the professional technical terms and definitions commonly used.
Xiaobo Hu, Project Leader of the group of experts that developed the guidance, said the potential of SHP plants in many developing countries remains untapped and is hindered by a number of factors including the lack of best practices or standards for SHP development.
“Increasing the development of renewable energy technologies is essential to mitigate the effects of climate change, and hydropower is an important solution,” she said.
“While the use of SHP is increasing, there are still many limitations when it comes to regulations. This document is intended to aid policy makers with their legislation and enhance their knowledge base related to their existing water resource structures and outlets. This will then help them make effective decisions related to renovating or upgrading old plants, developing new ones and attracting investment.”