(C) Ryoji Iwata / Unsplash

Nexus in Asia // Assessment of the Potential for Developing Mini/Micro Hydropower: A Case Study in Beppu City, Japan

By By Masahiko Fujii, Soichiro Tanabe, Makoto Yamada, Taketoshi Mishima, et al. This study aims to provide quantitative guidelines necessary for capacity building among various stakeholders to minimize water-energy conflicts in developing mini/micro hydropower (MHP), a baseload renewable energy that is socially necessary, not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also to vitalize local economies by creating jobs related to MHP operations. Using three different methods to calculate river water levels and discharges, the potential power generation by MHP was estimated for six rivers in Beppu City.

Our results show that installation of MHP facilities can provide stable electricity for tens to hundreds of residents in local communities along the rivers. However, the results are based on the existing infrastructure, such as roads and electric lines. This means that greater potential is expected if additional infrastructures are built to develop further MHP facilities. On the other hand, in Japan, river laws and irrigation right regulations currently restrict new entry by actors to rivers. Therefore, to further develop MHP, deregulation of the existing laws relevant to rivers and further incentives for business owners of MHP facilities, along with the current feed-in tariffs, are required. Meanwhile, possible influences to riverine ecosystems when installing new MHP facilities should also be taken into account.

The paper is part of the special issue of the Journal of Hydrology.


ScienceDirect website (open access)


December 2015


Journal of Hydrology: Regional StudiesVolume 11, June 2017, Pages 107-116

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