Small Hydropower in Europe

In general, Small Hydropower (SHP) stands for a plant with an installed capacity of up to 10 MW. On average, however, 1 European SHP plant has an installed capacity of 0,6 MW, and an average production of 2,2 GWh/year.

SHP supplies enough electricity for 13 million households and plays a key role in greenhouse gas emissions reduction through green energy production. It also supports water management policies, helps adapting to climate change through flood control, and contributes to the prevention of water scarcity and drought.

With an installed capacity of over 13,5 GW within the EU-27, and an annual generation of 48.783 GWh in 2010, SHP produces about 7,8% of Europe’s Renewable Energy electricity production, and plays an import role in the production of a stable and cost-efficient electricity generation.

Moreover, SHP supports the development of other green technologies (eg. Wind, Solar), and favours the EU’s objectives to decentralize the production of energy. By providing a stable, cost-efficient and quick-responsive source of energy, Hydropower can improve the integration of variable Renewable Energy sources through the pumped hydro energy storage technology.

4.200 SHP companies contribute greatly to the European economy through the direct and indirect creation of over 29.000 jobs across Europe. Its multipurpose scheme demonstrates the cross-cutting benefits of SHP, by providing services to sectors non-related to the production of energy, such as agriculture, tourism, and others.

However, due to increasingly stringent policies and administrative barriers, SHP projects are becoming more difficult to plan, and suffer great delays in their implementation.

Please visit our policy sections for more detailed information on the cross-cutting benefits of SHP, statistical data, and EU policies related to Hydropower.