The Scale of New Projects
Within the SMH domain, “small” implies two imprecise limits on the scale of a project: (1) the anticipated environmental footprint and impact of the development are small in comparison to the total benefits of the development, and (2) the anticipated revenue of the development is not great enough to support customized design, installation, or construction of structures and equipment. Thus “small” hydropower in this context can be interpreted subjectively as “environmentally compatible, cost-optimized” hydropower. It follows from these limits that environmentally compatible, cost-optimized hydropower will have immediate relevance for projects with installed capacity on the order of 10 megawatts (MWs) and less. SMH research, development, and testing will directly address these issues of scale as they relate to sustaining stream functions and achieving cost-competitive deployment.