The term renewable energy sources (RES) is related to sources of energy found in nature which can be reproduced in whole or in part e.g. in particular energy streams, wind energy, solar energy, biomass, geothermal energy and others. 

Production of energy from renewable sources in the world is permanently growing in the last several years.  The total installed capacity of mini hydropower plant in the world will increase to 55 GW in 2010 by the World Energy Forum (WEC) assessment. There are different interpretations of the concept of mini-hydropower plants, which differ from country to country. In Europe, the installed capacity up to 10 MW is accepted by the European Commission, The European Small Hydropower Association, and UNIPEDE (International Union of Producers and Distributors of Electricity). 

As a first step of the strategy for renewable energy, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper on 20th November 1996.This paper set a goal to the total energy consumption in the European Union - 12% is to be produced from renewable sources. In the previous period, the share of renewable sources was achieved mostly by large power plants. However, the potential for further development of large hydro power plants is very limited due to environmental restrictions. In contrast, studies show that the mini-hydro power plants potential is only exploited in 20%.

Mini hydro power plants in Serbia

Potential of small rivers, where small hydropower plants can be built, is about 0.4 million toe (tonne of oil equivalent) per year - or 3% of the total potential of renewable energy sources in Serbia. Mini hydroelectric power facilities are up to 10 MW and can be classified in the category of “privileged producers of energy” which can use “feed-in” tarrifs. By utilization of the total energy potential of mini hydro power plants it can be produced about 5% of total electricity production in Serbia (34,400 GWh/year achieved in 2006) and about 15% of current electricity production in hydro power plants (10,900 GWh/year).

The energy potential of rivers and sites for construction of small hydropower plants are determined by the document "Cadastre of small hydropower plants on the territory of the Republic of Serbia” (his document was delivered by “Energoprojekt - Hidroinženjering" and the Institute "Jaroslav Cerni" in 1987), and cadastre of small hydropower plants in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, which was treated 13 hydro (“Hidroinvest DTD”, 1989).