Small Hydropower Developments - From Planning to Design

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

Apply now for


For whom?

The course is designed for scientists, engineers and water managers involved in small hydropower development and water resources management, or interested in these topics.


Basic knowledge of hydrology and hydraulics

Dates, Fee, ECTS

Start: 23 October 2023
End: 03 November 2023
ECTS credit points: 3
Deadline IHE application: 22 September 2023 - 23.59 (CET)
Course fee: € 3500

VAT is not included in the course fee

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  • address the various stages of a small hydropower project cycle, from site location, to design, to cost analysis
  • analyse and create the preliminary design of a small hydropower scheme
  • evaluate the impact of small hydropower plants on the environment and society

Course content

The aim of the course on 'Small Hydropower Development - From planning to design' is to provide theoretical understanding and practical insights into the planning and designing of small hydropower plants.

After a short introduction to renewable energy, energy needs, hydropower and small hydropower the planning of the plant with site selection and hydropower potential is performed. For the site selection, lectures and exercises on GIS methods and geology input together with energy demand and hydropower potential are given.

Hydrology is an important parameter for successful hydropower potential estimation and successful project development. Therefore, applied hydrology with flow duration curves, statistical hydrology and new data sources for data-scarce areas is introduced. Hydropower potential definition along the river course is defined by available head difference and discharge in the analyzed river stretch. Definition of the hydropower potential and selection of the possible hydropower schemes are the first steps in hydropower development.

Small hydropower design deals with all scopes of the plant's structural and hydraulic design. All parts of civil structures (dams, weirs, intakes, power waterways, powerhouses), but also mechanical parts (turbine, hydraulic steel structures) and electrical components (generators, transformers, grid connection, smart grids) are part of the course. A successful project must be incorporated into the existing environment detecting and minimizing possible negative influences, consequently, the environmental and social impacts of small hydropower are addressed and discussed. For a successful project, adequate financial analysis and presentation of the results in a bank-friendly form are indispensable. The basis of financial analyses and permitting processes are part of this course.

The course is finalized with the presentation of the developed and constructed case studies from different parts of the world. The case studies show different solutions and specific types of problems detected during the development of the small hydropower project. Illustration of the learned topics and also the practical application is shown during the half-day site visit to two hydropower plants in the Netherlands.

Such an integral course gives a full overview of small hydropower planning and design processes, and represents a unique and attractive course for participants from the developing and developed world.


Connect with us

Never miss a thing!