Small Hydro-Power Plants in
Small hydro-power plants are gentle to their
surroundings, and the potential of their combined capacity could cover
nearly half the household electricity consumption in Slovakia.
Facilities with an output of less than 10 MW could be very
cost-effective in Slovakia, and the unused potential is nearly 350 MW,
or 1.2 TWh/year.
Small hydro-power plants are not new phenomena in
Slovakia, but most old plants were abandoned for the socialist approach
to power production, which called for large centralised power plants
burning fossil fuels.
Today, relatively big investment costs, combined with
high interest rates in Slovakia, lead to a payback time of 10 -15 years.
This financial burden is too high for most potential investors. For the
Slovakian utility company Slovenska Elektrarne a.s, investments in
small-hydro-power-plants are not attractive because of the relatively
small output and the potential problems with handling many small-scale
facilities. However, the lifetime of a small hydro-power plant is more
than 70 years, and experts estimate that it could be as long as 100
years! This far exceeds the service life of any other type of power
installation. A small 74-year-old hydro-power plant in Jasenie (next
page) exemplifies this longevity.