ARCHIVED - An Introduction to Micro-Hydro Power Systems

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Renewable and Electrical Energy Division
Natural Resources Canada

CETC Number ISBN066239914 / 2005-01-01

Introduction

Hydropower technology has been around for more than a century. Hydropower comes from converting the energy in flowing water – using a water wheel or a turbine – into useful mechanical power. This power is then converted into electricity by an electric generator.

Micro-hydropower systems are small hydropower plants that have an installed power generation capacity of less than 100 kilowatts (kW). Many micro-hydropower systems operate “run of river,” which means that no large dams or water storage reservoirs are built and no land is flooded. The majority of these systems only use a fraction of the available stream flow to generate power, and this has little environmental impact.