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World Small Hydropower Development Report (2013-2019)


Millions of people worldwide still live without reliable access to sustainable energy and clean water. To accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, the global community must delineate the best strategies for affordable and concrete solutions.

Small hydropower presents a simple, affordable, practical and low-cost solution. When implemented with environmental and socio-economic aspects in mind, it can simultaneously improve access to energy from renewable sources for remote and vulnerable rural communities, offer employment opportunities for youth, expand possibilities for growth for small-scale businesses, and contribute to combatting of climate change.

However, the potential of small hydropower in developing countries remains largely untapped, with only 34 per cent of global potential being utilized (data of 2019). To provide policy-makers with a solid basis for informed decisions and attract prospective financiers to invest in sustainable energy solutions, UNIDO partnered with the International Center on Small Hydro Power to launch the World Small Hydropower Development Report.

The first edition of the report was published in 2013. The second - in 2016. And third -2019.

The rich content of the report is an outcome of a collective effort of more than 200 authors and contributing organizations from all over the world.

The continuous work on new editions of the report makes it possible to compare data and see a progress, enhance analysis with more accurate details.

The global installed SHP capacity for plants up to 10 MW is estimated at 78 GW according to the World Small Hydropower Development Report 2019, an increase of approximately 10 per cent compared to data from the Report 2013.

In 2019, SHP represented only approximately 1.5 per cent of the world’s total electricity installed capacity, 4.5 per cent of the total renewable energy capacity and 7.5 per cent (< 10 MW) of the total hydropower capacity. Nonetheless, it plays a major role in improving many lives. This impact is discussed in the 18 case studies of WSHPDR 2019.

Small hydro infograph