Juliette Smith |

Micro hydro is the most cost-effective and efficient source of alternative energy.

A micro hydro plant

A micro-hydro system will produce 10 to 100 times more power than photovoltaic or wind power systems for the same investment.

Unlike solar and wind energy, micro-hydro power isn’t subject to seasonal fluctuations and can provide constant year-round electricity for boats or remote locations lucky enough to have constant running water.

Micro hydro units convert the energy of flowing water into electrical energy: water turns a wheel or a runner (like a propeller) to rotate a turbine and produce electricity. The energy produced is renewable and the process doesn’t emit harmful gases, so provided the set up doesn’t disturb local wildlife, micro-hydro plants are 100% eco- friendly.

Charities like ITDG or energy companies like the UK company It power are developing micro hydro systems in Asia and Africa to provide electricity to poor rural communities. Micro hydro is particularly suited to less developed countries where electricity grids are under developed.

In Canada, where there’s plenty of water micro hydro contributes to 3% of the total hydro electricity production. In the UK, planning permissions can still be a problem — you should check with your local authority if you intend to install a micro hydro plant — and there are currently less than 100 micro hydro plants.


Energy Alternatives have got an online course about micro-hydro set-ups and an online shop for equipment.

List of books and micro hydro plants around the world

Platypus power make micro hydro electric generators

The Green Pages
directory of turbines and micro-hydro providers

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2 Responses to “Micro hydro revolution”

  1. Knut J.

    “Unlike solar and wind energy, micro-hydro power isn�t subject to seasonal fluctuations ”

    Well, this just cant be right. A small stream is of course subject to seasonal changes. It dries out in the summer and have more in authum and spring – even in the winter depending on longitude.
    But then again, its a nice supplement to solar.

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