Small hydropower (SHP) is increasingly recognized as an important renewable energy solution to the challenge of electrifying remote rural areas. However, while China and most countries in Europe and North and South America have high rates of installed capacity, the potential of SHP in many developing countries remains untapped.
According to the World Small Hydropower Development Report 2016, published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Center on Small Hydropower, only 36 per cent of the total global SHP potential has been developed. To foster the uptake of SHP, a new China-funded project will develop technical guidelines that will serve as a basis for the development of international standards for SHP development.
The guidelines will address the current limitations of the regulations applied to the planning, design, installation, commissioning, operation and management of small-scale hydroelectric generating plants. They will be used to train manufacturers, engineers and decision-makers, especially in developing countries.
“The project will help the development of efficient and sustainable SHP which will, in turn, provide the power for productive activities and create employment opportunities,” said UNIDO Director General LI Yong. “The technical guidelines will make it possible to develop small hydropower and, with training, technology transfer will become a reality,” added Li.
Minister Counselor YAO Shenhong of the Permanent Mission of China stated that “The project is an important part of the efforts of UNIDO and China to develop South-South cooperation. We expect the guidelines to be applied worldwide, especially in developing countries”.
UNIDO will coordinate the implementation of the project together with China’s Ministry of Commerce; the Ministry of Water Resources; the Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China; and the International Center on Small Hydropower, as well as other major stakeholders. The signing ceremony was chaired by the UNIDO Director General and the Minister Counselor of China’s Permanent Mission.