E3A Micro-hydro: Introduction

Editor’s note
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CoverDeveloped by Montana State University Extension and the University of Wyoming
Adapted with permission

This guide is one in the Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives (E3A): Micro-hydropower for the Home, Farm or Ranch series. When most people think of hydroelectric power, they imagine the Hoover Dam or other large-scale installations, but hydroelectricity also works on a much smaller scale. This guide focuses on micro-hydroelectric systems designed for homeowners and agricultural operations to reduce use of utility-provided electricity, much like a small wind or solar electric system.


  • Access to flowing water with an adequate flow
  • Nearby electrical load
  • Reasonable use laws
  • Riparian rights
  • Water rights


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