Importance of Small-scale Hydro Power Plants in Developing Economies

One of the most viable solutions to address this issue is the implementation of small-scale hydro power plants. These plants offer a range of benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased energy independence, job creation, and economic growth. Let’s explore why small-scale hydro power plants are crucial for developing economies and their significance for a sustainable future.

Renewable and Environmentally Friendly

Small-scale hydro power plants harness the power of flowing water to generate electricity. Unlike fossil fuel-based power plants, hydro power plants generate clean energy without emitting harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. This makes them a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional energy sources. According to the International Energy Agency, hydro power is the largest source of renewable energy globally, accounting for around 71% of all renewable electricity generation.

  • Reduces reliance on fossil fuels
  • Helps combat climate change
  • Inexhaustible energy source

By embracing small-scale hydro power plants, developing economies can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to global efforts in combating climate change. At the same time, it helps diversify the energy mix by decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.

Increased Energy Independence

Many developing economies heavily rely on imported fossil fuels to meet their energy demands. This dependence exposes them to volatile global energy prices and geopolitical risks. Small-scale hydro power plants offer a sustainable and indigenous energy solution, reducing the need for costly fuel imports. By harnessing their local water resources, these economies can achieve a higher degree of energy self-sufficiency.

  • Reduces energy price volatility
  • Enhances energy security
  • Less vulnerable to global fuel price fluctuations

Developing economies can stabilize their energy costs and support economic growth by investing in small-scale hydro power plants. These plants provide a reliable source of electricity that is not subject to the price fluctuations and uncertainties associated with fossil fuel markets.

Job Creation and Economic Growth

One of the significant benefits of small-scale hydro power plants is their potential for job creation and economic growth. The development and operation of these plants require a range of skilled and unskilled labor, creating employment opportunities in local communities. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the hydro power sector employed approximately 1 million people globally in 2019.

  • Generates employment opportunities
  • Supports local economies
  • Encourages investment in rural areas

Small-scale hydro power plants promote inclusive growth by driving economic activity, particularly in rural and remote areas. The construction and maintenance of these facilities inject capital into local economies, stimulating job creation, increasing income levels, and improving overall living standards.

Cost-Effective and Reliable

Small-scale hydro power plants offer a cost-effective and reliable source of electricity. Once constructed, these plants have low operational and maintenance costs compared to traditional power plants. Additionally, hydropower provides a consistent and stable energy supply, not dependent on weather conditions like solar or wind power.

  • Low operational and maintenance costs
  • Provides stable and predictable energy output
  • Long lifespan of hydro power plants

Developing economies can benefit from the long-term cost savings and reliability of small-scale hydro power plants. As these plants have a long lifespan, typically ranging from 50 to 100 years, they offer a stable source of energy for years to come.


Small-scale hydro power plants play a vital role in developing economies, offering an array of benefits including renewable and environmentally friendly energy, increased energy independence, job creation, and economic growth. By investing in sustainable energy solutions like small-scale hydropower, these economies can pave the way for a greener and prosperous future.

For more information on the importance of hydropower, visit the International Hydropower Association.

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