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close this book Local Experience With Micro-Hydro Technology
close this folder B. Development of hydropower resources
View the document 1. THE UNUSED HYDROPOWER POTENTIAL
View the document 2. DISTRIBUTION OF RESOURCE AVAILABILITY OVER TIME AND GEOGRAPHICAL AREA
View the document 3. CHARACTERISTICS OF HYDROPOWER RESOURCES
View the document 4. BIG OR SMALL HYDRO?

B. Development of hydropower resources

Simple water-wheels have been used already in ancient times to relieve man of some forms of hard manual labour. Much later, but long before the advent of the steam engine, the art of building large water-wheels and the use of considerable power capacities was highly developed. The use of this natural energy resource became even easier and more widespread with the invention of the waterturbine in the early 1800's. The first small industries emerged soon after in many regions of Europe and North America, powered by water turbines. In Switzerland, a country with abundant hydropower resources, industrialization began in the first half or the nineteenth century, entirely based on hydropower. In the canton of Zurich alone, comprising an area of less than 2000 km 2, more than 450 installations were operating by the year 1900, with capacities from less than one to 450 HP and also about 40 turbines with capacities greater than 450 HP.

In later years, when cheap oil became available worldwide, interest in hydro power was lost to a great extent in many areas, but today the situation is different again. Governments, policy-makers, funding and lending agencies and sundry institutions and individuals take a growing interest. This led -and still does -to the reassessment of many projects once found not feasible; the identification of new sites and potentials, and a number of other activities related to hydro development.