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Small Hydropower Technical Guidelines

Small Hydropower (SHP) is increasingly seen as an important renewable energy solution to adequately answer the challenge of remote rural areas electrification. However, while most countries in Europe, North and South America, as well as China have high degrees of installed capacity, the potential of SHP in many developing countries remains untapped and is often hindered by the lack of good practices as well as SHP development standards on a global level.

UNIDO, in cooperation with INSHP, through global expert cooperation based on successful experiences, decided to develop the Small Hydropower Technical Guidelines (TGs) to meet the demand coming from Member States. TGs address the current limitations of the regulations applied to the technical guidelines for SHP Plants by applying the expertise and best practices from across the globe. The intention behind TGs is for countries to utilize those guidelines to support their current policy, technology and ecosystems. Countries that have limited institutional and technical capacities will be able to enhance their knowledge in developing SHP plants, thereby attracting more investment, while at the same time encouraging favourable policies and therefore subsequently assisting in economic development at a national level. TGs are a valuable asset for all the countries, especially in sharing the technical know-how and best practices between countries that have limited technical capacities.

The TGs can be taken as principle and basis for planning, designing, construction and management of SHP plants up to 30MW.

  • The Terms and Definitions specify the professional technical terms and definitions commonly used for SHP Plants.
  • The Design Guidelines provide guidelines for basic requirements, methodology and procedure in terms of site selection, hydrology, geology, project layout, configurations, energy calculations, hydraulics, electromechanical equipment selection, construction, project cost estimates, economic appraisal, financing, social and environmental assessments—with the ultimate goal of achieving the best design solutions.
  • The Units Guidelines specify the technical requirements on SHP turbines, generators, hydro turbine governing systems, excitation systems, main valves as well as monitoring, control, protection and DC power supply systems.
  • The Construction Guidelines can be used as the guidance technical document for the construction of SHP projects.
  • The Management Guidelines provide technical guidance for the management, operation, maintenance, technical renovation and project acceptance of SHP projects.

The use of TGs is highly recommended for training, education and practice in small hydropower development. At the same time suggestions and recommendations for possible TGs updates are very welcomed.