Securing Finance for Hydropower Projects: Best Practices

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Written By AltFin

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Key Points:

Definition: Hydropower energy finance is the allocation of financial resources towards the development, construction, and operation of hydropower plants and facilities.

Capital Structure: It encompasses a variety of financial instruments such as project finance loans, equity investments, and government subsidies, tailored to the large scale and long lifecycle of hydropower projects.

Objective: To promote the use of hydropower as a renewable and sustainable energy source, contributing to clean electricity generation and water management.

What is hydropower financing and why is it a challenge for hydropower projects?

Hydropower project financing, similarly to other types of renewable energy financing, involves the process of acquiring the necessary funds to construct, operate and maintain a hydropower plant.​

It is an important aspect of the hydropower industry, as without adequate financing hydro projects cannot be completed or sustained.​

The funding can come from a number of sources, including loans, equity investments, or risk mitigation instruments.

Challenges in hydropower financing

Water-power-generated projects face several challenges when trying to secure funding.​

These include the high capital costs associated with constructing a hydropower plant, environmental concerns, and the long-term nature of the investment.​

Also, hydro projects can involve complex agreements between various parties, including lenders and power purchasers.

Hydropower financing laws and regulations

Hydropower financing is regulated by various laws and regulations that govern the provision of financing for clean energy projects.​

Lenders and investors must comply with these regulations to protect their investments and ensure that the hydro undertakings will be able to operate efficiently and sustainably in the long run.(1)(2)

underwater turbines

What are the key sources of funding for hydropower projects?

Loan facilities

Loan facilities are the most common source of funding for hydropower projects.​

These loans are provided by banks or other financing institutions, and they often come with favorable terms, such as low-interest rates, long repayment periods, and flexible payment schedules.​

However, hydropower companies must be able to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan, and they must also ensure that their project is able to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of the loan.(3)

Risk mitigation instruments

Risk mitigation instruments are financial tools that help investors manage and mitigate their risks in a hydropower project.​

These instruments include warranties, guarantees, and other financial mechanisms that help to reduce the risk of default or non-payment.​

These instruments can also increase the attractiveness of the investment opportunity to potential investors.

Equity investments

Equity investments involve the sale of a stake in a hydropower project to investors.​

By investing in the project, the investor becomes a shareholder and shares in the profits and risks associated with the project.​

These investments can be attractive to investors because they offer the potential for a higher return on investment than a loan, but they also involve a higher level of risk.(4)

What do investors look for when investing in hydro projects?

Operational and financial performance

Investors want to see strong operational and financial performance for water projects.​

This includes a well-maintained hydropower plant, efficient operations, and a solid track record of generating revenue.​

When pitching to investors, hydropower companies should be able to demonstrate that their project is financially viable and has the potential to generate a good return on investment.

View on clean energy future

Investors are increasingly looking to invest in undertakings that contribute to a clean energy future.​

Hydropower is considered a clean and environmentally-friendly source of power that emits no greenhouse gases.​

Investors are often attracted to hydropower projects that have a positive impact on the environment and promote sustainability.

Building a strong project team

Investors want to see that the hydropower project owners have a strong and experienced project team in place.​

This team should have the necessary expertise to manage the various aspects of the project, including construction, operations, and maintenance.​

Having a strong project team in place can increase the confidence of investors and make the project more attractive.

large dam surrounded by forests

How can hydropower project owners get ready for funding?

Clean energy project assessment

Hydropower project companies should undertake a clean energy project assessment to ensure that their project is viable and can attract funding.​

This assessment should include an evaluation of the site, an assessment of the environmental impact of the project, and an analysis of the financial and operational feasibility of the facility.

Consideration of legal framework

Hydro energy project enterprises should also consider the legal framework that governs hydropower financing when seeking funding.​

This framework includes laws and regulations that protect the environment and ensure the sustainability of hydro projects.​

Hydropower companies should ensure that they comply with these laws and regulations to attract funding from investors.

Hydropower projects view to the future

To attract investors and lenders, hydropower project enterprises must position themselves in the market and present a strong case for the value of their project.​

This includes demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and their ability to adapt to changes in the market.​

Companies should also be open to potential partnership opportunities with other firms in the sector to strengthen their position in the market and attract more investors.


In conclusion, securing funding for hydro projects can be a challenge, but with a solid plan in place and a focus on demonstrating viability and sustainability, hydropower ventures can attract the funding they need to build and operate successful projects.

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  1. International Energy Agency, Hydropower Special Market Report, retrieved from
  2. International Hydropower Association, Finance, retrieved from
  3. The World Bank, Financing of private hydropower projects, retrieved from
  4. Energypedia, Hydropower – Types of Financing, retrieved from