This paper discusses linearized models of hydropower plants (HPPs). First, it reviews state-of-the-art models and discusses their non-linearities, then it proposes suitable linearization strategies for the plant head, discharge, and turbine torque. It is shown that neglecting the dependency of the hydroacoustic resistance on the discharge leads to a linear formulation of the hydraulic circuits model. For the turbine, a numerical linearization based on a first-order Taylor expansion is proposed. Model performance is evaluated for a medium- and a low-head HPP with a Francis and Kaplan turbine, respectively. Perspective applications of these linear models are in the context of efficient model predictive control of HPPs based on convex optimization.