World small Hydropower Development Knowledge Platform

Technical notes and abbreviations

The findings of the World Small Hydropower Development Report 2016 were arrived at by totalling data from a wide range of sources. Methodologies vary greatly from source to source, with an inevitable compromise of data integrity to varying degrees. One obvious issue is the lack of a universally agreed definition for small hydropower. While some countries define their small hydropower plants with a capacity of up to 1 MW, others include plants with capacities up to 30 MW or 50 MW. Nonetheless, a widely accepted definition of small hydropower is of plants up to 10 MW and, where possible, data have been provided according to this definition and care has been taken to indicate differing definitions within individual country reports.

An additional issue arises from the varying accuracy and specificity of estimated potential figures. For many countries, accurate assessments of potential capacity are difficult to establish. While care has been taken to provide the most accurate data, it should be noted that the information presented has been derived from various sources that are often unclear as to whether the estimate is theoretical, technical or economically feasible.

Furthermore, not all countries have been able to identify their small hydropower potential and, in some cases, planned small hydropower projects have been reported instead. In other cases, data on potential were completely unavailable and already developed capacity was used to indicate the minimal available potential. Thus some countries would have been misrepresented to appear as having fully developed small hydropower resources. Where this occurs, care has been taken to make it clearer. However, it should be highlighted that despite the limitation on data, it is likely there is some level of small hydropower potential remaining in these countries.

When comparing data with the World Small Hydropower Development Report 2016, increases and decreases in installed capacity and estimated potential are, on occasion, due to the use of different or more accurate studies, and as such do not always reflect actual changes in small hydropower development. In other cases, plant improvements have led to higher capacities that moved individual plants above the 10 MW threshold and are therefore no longer included in the small hydropower figures. In general, however, differences between the Reports should be considered reflective of a growing degree of accuracy as much as they are an indication of additional small hydropower capacity or potential.

This Report covers 160 countries. Countries that were not included were those that had no known installed small hydropower capacity, potential or for which the data were inaccessible to the point that precludes a full country report. Countries adhered to the geographical regions and composition defined by the United Nations Statistics Division. Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia do not contain many countries or territories that use small hydropower and were therefore combined under the regional heading of ‘Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT)’. This report was compiled for both ‘countries’ and ‘territories’. Overseas territories have been included in the continent where they are geographically located following the online M49 list of the United Nations Statistics Division. Countries that are not part of the United Nations were not considered in this Report. In some cases, the terms ‘country’ and ‘territory’ may be used interchangeably. This does not imply an opinion on the legal status of any country or territory.

List of abbreviations

ADB        Asian Development Bank

AfDB       African Development Bank

CER         Certified Emission Reduction

CDM       Clean Development Mechanism

CSP         Concentrated solar power

EBRD      European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States

EIA          Environmental Impact Assessment

ESHA      European Small Hydropower Association

FIT           Feed-in tariff

GEF         Global Environment Facility

GIZ          Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit

IEA          International Energy Agency

IRENA     International Renewable Energy Agency

JICA         Japan International Cooperation Agency

NEP         National Energy Policy

OLADE    Latin American Energy Organization (Organización Latinoamericana de Energía)

PICT        Pacific Island Countries and Territories

PPA         Power Purchase Agreement

PPP         Public Private Partnership

RE           Renewable energy

RET         Renewable energy technology

UNDP     United Nations Development Programme

UNEP      United Nations Environment Programme

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

VAT         Value Added Tax

WFD       Water Framework Directive


Technical abbreviations

Hz           Hertz

kW          Kilowatt

kWh        Kilowatt hour

GWh       Gigawatt hour

l/s           litre/second

MVA       Mega Volt Ampere

MW        Megawatt

Rpm       Rate per minute

m3/s       Cubic metre per second

kWp        Kilowatt peak

CO2        Carbon dioxide