Hydropower is one of the most efficient spheres of the electric power industry. Hydropower is renewable and environmentally friendly source of energy, allowing to reduce emissions into the atmosphere and hence lower the greenhouse effect leading to global warming.

Use of renewable energy sources, including hydropower, saves reserves of fossil fuel- hydrocarbons and coal - for future generations.

Absence of fuel cost in cost structure of hydropower plans contributes to reducing the cost dependence of economy on price of fuel.

Apart from its immediate purpose — production of electric power — hydropower offers a number of other important economic and social benefits, such as reserves of potable water and industrial water supply systems, enabling navigation, irrigation for agriculture, fish-breeding, and regulation of fluvial flow for the purpose of mitigating adverse effects of high water and floods and thereby ensuring the safety of the population.

Hydropower is the key element in ensuring reliability of the country’s Unified Energy System, representing 90% of highly maneuverable capacity needed for the system regulation. In fact the very creation of the UES of Russia became possible exactly due to establishment of Volga-Kama Cascade in the 1950s.

Structure of installed generation capacity in united energy system of Russia as for beginning of 2011

In Russia, the total volume of electricity generation consists of generation generation by facilities located in the Unified Energy System of Russia and facilities that operate in isolated energy systems. In 2011 overall generation in Russia totaled 1,040.4 billion kWh having slightly increased against the previous year (just over 1%).

International experience shows a trend toward development of hydropotential, even in the presence of other energy resources. A striking example is Norway, which despite large reserves of natural gas is almost 100% relying on hydropower. Another example is Canada, which in many ways has similar natural conditions to Russia. In Canada, HPPs provide more than 60% of electricity. Currently, the world’s hydropower industry is experiencing a genuine renaissance that is associated with large-scale construction of a large number of large HPPs in developing countries – China, India, Brazil, Ethiopia and others.