This NRG Expert White Paper looks at the history of hydropower. Topics covered include: the big dam period in the USA and research on small hydropower development, particularly in Europe and China.
Hydro power generation originated with the invention of the hydro turbine in France in the 1830s. Thereafter hydropower continued to play a major role in the expansion of electrical services, both in North America and around the world. By 1886, there were about 40 to 50 hydro plants in the US and Canada. This complimentary white paper summarises the history of hydro power and looks in particular at the development of small hydropower plants in the US, Europe and China.
Introduction to Hydropower
The Big Dam period in the USA
Small Hydropower ( SHP )
Development of Small Hydropower (SHP) in Europe
Development of SHP in China
Figure 1: The number of dams constructed by decade (excluding China)
Figure 2: Cumulative number of dams built by region
Figure 3 Development of the capacity of turbines and pump turbines
Figure 4 Development of the capacity of generators and motor-generators
Figure 5 Small Hydro Power capacity in China, 1950 – 2020
Table 1 The 12 largest hydro power plants in the world, 2010
Table 2 Top ten large hydro power plants under construction
Table 3 Large hydro power plants in the pipeline
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