European groups produce small hydro development guides

The European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA) offers new guidelines for developing small hydropower projects in Europe and an analysis of best practices for small hydro planning.

“Guidelines for Micro-hydropower Development” and “Best Practices and Case Studies,” produced by a group known as SPLASH (Spatial Plans and Local Agreements for Small Hydro), are available on ESHA’s Internet site,

The guidelines present key concepts and stages in project development and focus on difficulties encountered in development of hydro projects under 100 kW. They also present specific technologies for developing small-scale projects and cover “environment-friendly” approaches.

Spatial planning follows territorial approach

“Best Practices and Case Studies” provides spatial and policy plans oriented toward a territorial approach for small hydro development, rather than a site-by-site approach, in France, Greece, Ireland, Poland, and Portugal. Spatial planning makes it possible to eliminate areas unsuitable for development while adding areas with the greatest potential for development.

Spatial planning also helps users assess technical, environmental, and socio-economic constraints of many sites to reflect concerns of all stakeholders. It involves consultation with local entities such as municipalities and counties. The plans can help reduce the unit development costs of a project by distributing costs to all the projects under the area covered by a plan.

SPLASH members are: Agence gouvernementale De l’Environnement et de la Maitrise de l’Energie (ADEME) and Innovation Energie Developpement (IED), both of France; Alpha Mentor Consult of Greece; Cork County Council of Ireland; Malopolska Agencja Energii Srodowiska (MAES), Poland; and Centro de Estudos en Economia de Energia (CEEETA) of Portugal.

Partnering with SPLASH were: ESHA; Entec, an environmental and engineering consultancy based in the United Kingdom; and Energie-Cities, an association of European local authorities headquartered in France that promotes sustainable energy policies. The European Commission funded the work.

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