Potential development

Compared to the other renewable sources, hydroelectric power  has already reached a very high level of utilization of resources. The large hydroelectric power plants in fact have almost all been built. The road to follow in the future will be that of minor hydroelectric plants (mini and micro-hydroelectric) with small plants serving isolated utilizers, that have the possibility of exploiting the water resource that is available in the vicinity. In particular, the term mini hydroelectric, indicates plants with an installed power  that is less than 10MW while the term micro hydroelectric is used to indicate plants with a power that is less than 100 kW. Small power plants have a remarkable number of advantages: it is possible to exploit small differences in height and minimum river flow-rates to obtain electric power; they have a mild impact on the territory; low costs; and this type of power plants can satisfy the energy requirements of small communities, farms, individual families or small enterprises. Furthermore, these plants are ideal to provide energy to isolated areas or areas that are not connected to the national electricity distribution network.
Generally, in industrialized countries where large power plants are present, the area  of development is mini hydroelectric power. Instead in many developing countries the hydroelectric source of energy can be an interesting source of energy supply, both from large hydroelectric power plants and from mini hydroelectric plants.

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    Percentage of energy from hydroelectric in 2016

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    Number of hydroelectric plants in Italy

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    Waterfall

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    Penstock

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    Dam on the Sacramento River

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    Percentage of energy from hydroelectric in 2016

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    Hydroelectric production in Italy

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    Number of hydroelectric plants in Italy

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