Capacity factors for hydropower
Weighted average capacity factors
are around 50% for small and large hydropower projects, with most projects in the range of 30% to 80% (Figure 5.5
). Given the design flexibility for hydropower, depending on inflows and site characteristics, this wide range is to be expected and uniquely to hydropower, low capacity factors are often a design choice to meet peak demands, not a handicap to project economics. In Latin America, where there are significant excellent, but as yet unexploited, hydropower resources, average capacity factors for new small and large hydropower projects are 68% and 60% respectively.
FIGURE 5.5: CAPACITY FACTOR RANGES AND WEIGHTED AVERAGES FOR COMMISSIONED OR PROPOSED SMALL AND LARGE HYDROPOWER PROJECTS BY COUNTRY/REGION
IRENA RENEWABLE COST DATABASE.
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