Small Hydropower Development

IHE Delft Lectures, fieldtrip, individual exercises, group exercises

Target Audience

The course is designed for scientists, engineers and water managers interested in approaching hydropower development. Participants should have basic knowledge of hydrology and hydraulics. Please, note that this course does not focus on detailed design of small hydropower components.


The increase in prices of fossil energy sources and their impact on the environment due to green gas emissions has made hydropower more and more an important and attractive energy source. Opposite to the disadvantages given by the implementation of big hydroplants, the proper design of small hydro powerplants can be an environmental friendly solution and represents a useful alternative renewable energy source, especially for rural areas without developed electricity grids. Thus, small hydropower is specially featured for implementation in countries in transition and emerging countries. The aim of the course on Small Hydropower Development is to provide theoretical understanding and practical insights to the development of small hydropower plants.

Course content

  • Introduction and planning (project stages, layout alternatives)
  • Site selection (GIS tools, energy demand and hydropower potential assessment)
  • Hydrology for hydropower (flow duration curves, statistical hydrology)
  • SHPP design (civil, hydraulic and mechanical components)
  • Sediment management techniques
  • Case studies overview

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  • To address the various stages of a small hydropower project cycle
  • To be familiar with the main components required for the development of a small hydropower scheme