Over the last two decades, global electricity production has more than doubled and electricity demand is rising rapidly around the world as economic development spreads to emerging economies. Not only has electricity demand increased significantly, it is the fastest growing end-use of energy. Therefore, technical, economic and environmental benefits of hydroelectric power make it an important contributor to the future world energy mix, particularly in the developing countries. This paper deals with policies to meet increasing energy and electricity demand for sustainable energy development in Turkey. Turkey has a total gross hydropower potential of 433 GWh/year, but only 125 GWh/year of the total hydroelectric potential of Turkey can be economically used. By the commissioning of new hydropower plants, which are under construction, 36% of the economically usable potential of the country would be tapped. Turkey's total economically usable small hydropower potential is 3.75 GWh/year. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.