Small hydroelectric plants

Hydroelectric Power (H/P) is based on the exploitation and the conversion of the dynamic energy of lake water and the kinetic energy of river waters, into electricity. Initially, running water is confined or water is stored in natural or artificial lakes. The kinetic energy of water is converted into mechanical energy by the rotation of the axle of a turbine impeller. Then, the turbine operates a generator, which converts mechanical energy into electricity. Small hydroelectric plants in Greece are small plants that exploit waterways or small dams for the production of electricity with a capacity of up to 15 MW.

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Most of the plants in Greece have a capacity of 0.5 to 3 MW. Such projects are usually invisible in densely populated areas because they involve neither large-scale water collection and storage nor the construction of large dams and reservoirs, thus being totally compatible with the environment.

Advantages - Environmental Benefits

Small hydroelectric plants have a number of significant advantages such as:

  • direct connection/disconnection to the network;
  • autonomous operation;
  • reliability;
  • top quality, fluctuation-free power generation;
  • excellent performance over time;
  • long life cycle and
  • brief investment amortization time due to very low operational and maintenance costs.
A typical small 1 MW hydroelectric plant produces about 3-6 million kWh annually and averts the emission of 3000-6000 tons of carbon dioxide (the emissions estimate is based on the average energy mix in Greece).

Institutional Framework

According to law 3851/2010, the sale price per kWh produced by hydroelectric plants is guaranteed for 20 years.

For general information about small hydroelectric plants, interested parties can contact the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (RES department) and CRES. As regards the applications and licensing procedure for small hydroelectric plants, investors should contact the RAE.