The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has released the World Small Hydropower Development Report 2022 (WSHPDR), offering critical insights into the role of small hydropower projects (SHPs) in sustainable industrial development and global energy access.

The report spotlights a pressing issue: as of 2020, more than 700 million people worldwide still lacked access to electricity, primarily in rural areas. UNIDO Director General, Gerd Müller, emphasized the need for renewable energy solutions, noting, "In the face of this challenge, it is essential to continue gathering and disseminating knowledge about renewable energy technologies. Small hydropower is one such option."

Small hydropower is recognized for its simplicity, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness, making it an attractive choice for delivering sustainable electricity to remote and underserved communities. Müller highlighted the underutilized potential, stating that "Over 60% of global small hydropower potential remains untapped." This underlines substantial opportunities for local communities and environmental sustainability.

In collaboration with the International Centre on Small Hydro Power, UNIDO has introduced the World Small Hydropower Development Report to assist policymakers, communities, developers, and other stakeholders interested in SHP projects.

The WSHPDR provides comprehensive, country-specific data on SHPs, encompassing operational, planned, and potential projects. The report also dives into associated costs, financing mechanisms, and conditions conducive to SHP development.

It also incorporates practical success stories and case studies, shedding light on the tangible outcomes of SHP projects. Furthermore, the WSHPDR 2022 includes special sections exploring the impact of gender empowerment, youth involvement, and climate change on SHP projects.

María Ubierna, Director of Open Hydro and co-author of the climate change section, commended the report, stating, "WSHPDR is the most comprehensive report on small hydropower worldwide, and the 2022 edition has gone above and beyond its potential."

The report presents 12 case studies showcasing the transformative effects of well-planned SHP projects on local communities, particularly in rural areas. Additionally, the WSHPDR 2022 introduces the Global SHP Database, offering detailed information on SHPs worldwide. This database serves as a reference for the current status and potential of SHP development.