Small Hydropower Development

The aim of the course on Small Hydropower Development is to provide theoretical understanding and practical insights to the development of small hydropower plants. 

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2021 Edition Online

This course will be offered in an online/remote teaching format due to Covid-19 restrictions. The course's content and learning objectives will remain unchanged, while the duration may be extended. You can contact the course coordinator for more information about the new -temporary- format of the course.

For whom?

The course is designed for scientists, engineers and water managers interested in approaching hydropower development. Participants should have basic knowledge of hydrology and hydraulics. Please, note that this course does not focus on detailed design of small hydropower components.


Basic knowledge of hydraulics, geotechnics and structural engineering

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 04 October 2021
End: 15 October 2021
Deadline IHE application: 03 September 2021 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 2000

Start: 19 September 2022
End: 30 September 2022
Deadline IHE application: 18 August 2022 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 2000

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. To address the various stages of a small hydropower project cycle
  2. To be familiar with the main components required for the development of a small hydropower scheme


The increase in prices of fossil energy sources and their impact on the environment due to green gas emissions has made hydropower more and more an important and attractive energy source. Opposite to the disadvantages given by the implementation of big hydroplants, the proper design of small hydro powerplants can be an environmental friendly solution and represents a useful alternative renewable energy source, especially for rural areas without developed electricity grids. Thus, small hydropower is specially featured for implementation in countries in transition and emerging countries.

Course content

  • Introduction and planning (project stages, layout alternatives)
  • Site selection (GIS tools, energy demand and hydropower potential assessment)
  • Hydrology for hydropower (flow duration curves, statistical hydrology)
  • SHPP design (civil, hydraulic and mechanical components)
  • Sediment management techniques
  • Case studies overview

Learning methods are:

  • Use of state of the art literature combined with field experience from international professionals and academics;
  • Lectures;
  • Individual exercises;
  • Group exercises;
  • Case study analysis;
  • Fieldtrip


  • Luigia Brandimarte (IHE Delft)
  • Miroslav Marence (IHE Delft)
  • Paolo Paron (IHE Delft)
  • Alessandra Crosato (IHE Delft)
  • Attilio Castellarin (University of Bologna)
  • Maximo Peviani (RSE spa Italy)
  • Paolo Mazzoli (Gecosistema, Italy)


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