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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?

1. THE UNUSED HYDROPOWER POTENTIAL

An international commission established by the World Energy Conference in 1974, worked out, inter alia, an objective analysis of the world hydraulic resources.


Fig. 2: World Total Installed and Installable Capability

Source: NRECA, Small hydroelectric powerplants, Washington 1980

The results of these studies show that hydropower developed so far is around 17 % of the potential considered reasonably developable (the theoretical energy in global runoff is more than eight-fold).

Figure 2 illustrates the hydropotential in various regions of the world and the amounts developed, under construction or planned, and the amount remaining. The total developable capacity amounts to 2,2 million MW and has -at a 50 % plant factor - a theoretical yearly production potential of nearly 10 million GWh of electrical energy. The same amount of electrical energy in thermal plants with oil as fuel would require approximately 40 million barrels of oil per day.

If this is compared to the world consumption of pertroleum products, which amounted to around 70 million barrels per day in 1980, it becomes evident that hydropower resources are very substantial indeed. For developing countries, who together possess almost 60 %(Calculated from fig. 2) of the installable potential, e.g. the equivalent of about 24 million barrels of oil per day, the magnitude is striking. All these countries together consumed 2,54 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, to produce electricity from carbonic fuels (oil, gas and coal) during 1980.