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Hydropower in developing countries

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Hydropower in developing countries

Hydropower is the world’s most abundant source of renewable energy, providing more than 20 percent of the global electricity supply. In developing countries, hydropower has been a key part of economic and social development for decades. It provides reliable and affordable electricity to remote communities as well as serves as a base load power generation technology for entire countries.

developing countries

This blog post will discuss the importance of hydropower in developing countries, from both an economic and environmental perspective. We will also explore some of the challenges faced by these countries in developing their hydropower resources and examine some possible solutions that could help increase access to this valuable resource.

How does hydropower work?

Hydropower is a renewable source of energy that harnesses the power of water to generate electricity. There are two main types of hydropower plants: impoundment and diversion. Impoundment plants use dams to store water in a reservoir, while diversion plants divert water from a river or stream into a pipeline.

Both types of plants use turbines to convert the kinetic energy of flowing water into mechanical energy, which is then used to generate electricity. The main difference between the two types of plants is how they control the flow of water. Impoundment plants use gates and spillways to regulate the release of water from the reservoir, while diversion plants use intake structures and penstocks to direct water flow.

Hydropower is a versatile source of renewable energy that can be used to meet a variety of electric power needs, including base load (24-hour), peaking (short duration), or intermittent (variable) demand. In addition, hydropower can provide ancillary services such as frequency regulation and load following that contribute to grid stability and reliability.

What are developing countries?

Many developing countries are located in areas that have high rainfall and many rivers. These countries often do not have the money or the technology to build large dams and power plants. However, they can use small hydropower plants to provide electricity for their people.

Hydropower is a renewable energy source that does not produce pollution. It is also a very efficient way to generate electricity. A small hydropower plant can provide enough electricity for a village or small town.

Building a small hydropower plant is much cheaper than building a large power plant. Also, the environmental impact of a small hydropower plant is much less than that of a large power plant.

Many organizations are helping developing countries to build small hydropower plants. These organizations include the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Renewable Energy Agency.

How is hydropower taken to use in developing countries

Hydropower is a key renewable energy resource for developing countries, as it provides a clean and affordable source of electricity. By harnessing the power of water, hydropower plants can generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or other pollutants.

Hydropower plants can be built on a variety of scales, from small micro-hydro systems that power a single home or village to large hydroelectric dams that provide electricity for an entire region. Developing countries are increasingly turning to hydropower to meet their growing energy needs, as it is a renewable resource that is widely available in many parts of the world.

There are several ways to take hydropower use in developing countries. Small-scale hydropower systems are often the most appropriate option for rural areas, as they are less expensive and easier to build than large hydroelectric dams. Micro-hydro systems can be used to power individual homes or villages, while larger systems can provide electricity for an entire district or region.

Another option for taking hydropower to use in developing countries is run-of-river plants, which divert water from a river into a pipeline that runs through a turbine to generate electricity. This type of plant has a lower environmental impact than large hydroelectric dams, as it does not require the construction of dams or reservoirs. Run-of-river plants are often used in mountainous regions where there is a high river flow.

The challenges of hydropower in developing countries

The challenges of hydropower in developing countries are many and varied. One of the biggest challenges is financing. Hydropower projects are expensive and often require large upfront investments. This can be a barrier for many developing countries, which may not have the financial resources to invest in such projects.

Another challenge facing hydropower in developing countries is environmental concerns. Hydropower can have negative impacts on the environment, including pollution of waterways and disruption of local ecosystems. In addition, damming rivers can cause flooding and displacement of local communities. These impacts must be carefully considered when planning hydropower projects in developing countries.

Finally, another challenge facing hydropower in developing countries is a lack of technical capacity. Many developing countries do not have the necessary technical expertise to design and build hydropower plants. This can lead to sub-standard facilities that are not able to operate at their full potential, or even pose safety risks to those who live near them.

Case studies of successful hydropower projects in developing countries

 Worldwide, hydropower provides about 24 percent of the electricity generated from renewable sources.

In many parts of the world, rivers are being dammed to provide electricity for growing populations and economies. Large hydropower dams can provide baseload power – meaning they can generate electricity around the clock, even when water flow is low – making them a reliable source of energy.

Dams also offer other benefits, including flood control, irrigation, and navigation. In developing countries, where infrastructure is often lacking, hydropower can be an important tool for economic development.

Despite the benefits, hydropower development comes with challenges. Dams can have negative impacts on local communities and ecosystems. And in some cases, poor planning and construction can lead to disastrous results – such as the collapse of the Banqiao Dam in China in 1975, which killed more than 170,000 people.

That’s why it’s important to carefully consider all potential impacts before moving forward with any hydropower project. Below are case studies of three successful hydropower projects in developing countries that have had positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes:

The benefits and drawbacks of hydropower

Hydropower is one of the most popular renewable energy sources in the world. It accounted for 16 percent of global electricity generation in 2016, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

There are many reasons for hydropower’s popularity. It is a renewable resource that is widely available, especially in developing countries. Hydropower is also relatively cheap to build and operate, and it has low greenhouse gas emissions.

However, hydropower also has some drawbacks. The most significant drawback is that hydropower dams can have negative environmental impacts, including disrupting local ecosystems, displacing communities, and causing greenhouse gas emissions.


Hydropower has the potential to provide a significant source of renewable energy in developing countries. With careful planning and implementation, hydropower could be used to reduce poverty and increase access to electricity while minimizing environmental impacts. This is why governments in developing countries need to focus on harnessing this resource sustainably. Investing in hydropower now can help these countries prepare for the future by increasing their resilience to climate change, creating jobs, improving public health outcomes, and protecting local ecosystems.

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