The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has published the World Small Hydropower Development Report 2022 (WSHPDR). The report provides a comprehensive global analysis of small hydropower projects (SHPs) and shows small hydro’s significant untapped potential for supporting sustainable industrial development.
Energy is the lifeblood of human progress. Yet, as of 2020, over 700 million people globally still lacked access to electricity, predominantly in rural areas, and UNIDO Director General, Gerd Müller, said, “In the face of this challenge, it is especially critical to continue to collect and share knowledge about the various renewable energy technologies. Small hydropower is one such solution. It has long played a key part in providing access to sustainable and reliable electricity around the world. Small hydropower is a simple, adaptable and low-cost technology, which makes it particularly suitable for remote and marginalized communities.”
Müller continued, “Over 60% of global small hydropower potential remains untapped. There are still vast opportunities across the globe to use it for the benefit of local communities and the planet. In order to support policymakers, communities, potential developers and other stakeholders interested in developing small hydropower projects, UNIDO has partnered with the International Centre on Small Hydro Power to launch the World Small Hydropower Development Report.”
What sets the WSHPDR apart from similar publications is its in-depth, country-specific data on SHPs. The report covers all facets of SHPs and provides insights into operational, planned and potential projects, including the associated costs, financing mechanisms and conditions favouring SHP development.
But the report is not just about raw data; it also offers real-life stories and case studies illustrating the successful implementation of SHPs.
WSHPDR 2022 includes special thematic sections exploring both the impact of SHP and the influence on it of gender empowerment, youth involvement and climate change.
María Ubierna, Director of Open Hydro, and co-author of the section of climate change, said, “WSHPDR is the most comprehensive report on small hydropower worldwide, and the 2022 edition has gone above and beyond its potential.”
The WSHPDR 2022 presents 12 case studies shed light on the transformative impact of carefully planned and developed SHP projects on the day-to-day lives of communities, particularly those in rural areas.
The report also unveils the first-ever Global SHP Database, providing detailed information on SHPs worldwide. This database serves as a comprehensive source of information on the current status and future potential of SHP development.