Site selection for hydropower development: A GIS-based framework to improve planning in Brazil

Joao Paulo Romanelli, Luiz G M Silva, A. Horta, Rogerio A. Picolli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Small hydropower plants (SHPs) may be considered the most cost-effective and environmentally benign technology for energy production. However, it has been suggested that the social–environmental impacts of SHPs could be reduced through improvements to the planning stage. This work aims to develop a geographic information system (GIS)-based framework to improve SHP planning in Minas Gerais State, Brazil, by providing site selection for development based on social–environmental restrictions. The framework used a GIS-based multicriteria decision analysis based on the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to classify and weigh each attribute used. The results indicated that the number of planned SHPs is relatively high for Minas Gerais State (203), with the majority either in the Inventory or Project Assigned stages. The results also highlighted priority and nonpriority areas for SHPs by considering the likelihood of the SHPs causing the least and greatest socioenvironmental disturbances, respectively. The GIS-based framework has proved to be effective for improving SHP development in Minas Gerais State while suggesting site selection of priority areas that are likely to cause the least negative social–environmental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number04018051
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering, ASCE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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