There are many areas of the world where the concept of hydropower is considered the norm, but in other places the idea is very unfamiliar. However unfamiliar this concept may be to some, market analysts at GlobalData believe that global government support for hydropower is fast making it become “a key renewable energy source,” with small hydropower plants (SHP) demonstrating particular growth and potential over bigger facilities.
According to the GlobalData report, the global-combined installed capacity of hydropower increased significantly in the years 2006-2011 from 896.9 gigawatts to 1.072.1 gigawatts. They go further by predicting that this figure will reach around 1,443 gigwatts by 2020, due to the sustained world-round government support of hydropower.
So how do SHPs fit in? One of the main reasons is that when being constructed, they do not affect the surrounding habitat, not to mention the fact that they are much easier and cheaper to construct. Also, issues involving submergence and deforestation are usually rife during the build of a large plant, whereas with SHP’s these factors are much less likely to be prominent.
Because they are viewed as a cost-effective and reliable option, as well as tending to be easier to set up, it is easy to see why SHP’s are being utilised on a global basis.
GlobalData are not the only ones who think that hydropower is on the rise. The Department of Energy have also reported this year that there is huge potential for hydroelectric power to become a big game player in the U.S., namely by developing many SHP sites (54,000 to be precise) over the country to generate power.
The current top three countries with the greatest amount of SHP stations are China (55.3%), India (9%) and the U.S. (6.9%), but perhaps these statistics are set to change over the course of the decade.