Hydro EMPowerment Network

Knowledge Exchange for Community Micro Hydro in South and Southeast Asia

The Hydro Empowerment Network aims to facilitate knowledge sharing between actors in the field of micro hydro power in South and South East Asia to reach the goal of achieving the broader standardisation and dissemination of micro hydro power in these regions.

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Access to Energy and Clean Water in the Ulu Papar Rainforest, Malaysia

News from WISIONS posted on July 19th, 2017

In February 2014, three communities in Ulu Papar, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, embarked on an initiative that would bring a reliable and sustainable supply of clean energy and water into their homes and schools. This SEPS project has now been successfully concluded.Read moreMinimize

Green Empowerment and Tonibung played technical support and project management roles in the implementation of this SEPS project, utilising locally manufactured micro-hydro turbines and employing the skills of trained community technicians from Ulu Papar villages. 

Our partner organisations have worked with the Orang Asal villages of Pongobonon, Kalangaan and Longkogungan towards ensuring that their electricity and water supply can be sustained in the long term, that the watersheds they depend on will be protected, and that newly trained village technicians will have skills that benefit communities like theirs in the years to come.

The villages of Pongobonon, Kalangaan and Longkogungan are now enjoying access to 24-hour renewable energy from their micro-hydro systems, as well as clean water supply in their own homes. Six trainees from villages in Ulu Papar formed the backbone of the project implementation team, and all three villages are using locally manufactured turbines. 

The communities are managing their systems through local committees, and have developed watershed protection plans to ensure that the forested catchment areas these systems rely on continue to be preserved. Meters have been installed in Pongobonon and Kalangaan, but Longkogungan had decided to utilize a flat-rate tariff system instead.


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Last Event

The third annual gathering of the Hydro Empowerment Network of South / Southeast Asia (HPNet) took place from 22nd until 25th of November 2016 at the Nepal Micro Hydropower Development Association (NMHDA) in Kathmandu, Nepal. This is a region long advanced in micro hydro but recently devastated by natural and political calamity. In addition to learning from Nepal's micro hydro advances, members have chosen Nepal for last year's gathering as a show of solidarity and support for Nepal's rehabilitation.

Activities

The network intends to facilitate knowledge exchange and transfer to specifically meet the actual needs and knowledge gaps of the network members. Three different levels of activities and exchange are envisaged:

Bilateral exchange

Bilateral exchange between network members on a face-to-face basis, designed to address the specific needs or knowledge gaps of the partners (see details of linked SEPS exchanges).

Multi-lateral exchange

Multilateral exchange in the form of regular technical workshops, training sessions or symposia. This level of communication will a) consolidate the relationships between the existing network members and b) serve as a platform for expanding the network by inviting potential new organisations/network members.

To date, two network gatherings have taken place. The first was in Malaysia, 2013 and the second was in Indonesia in 2015.

Online Exchange

The two levels of face-to-face exchange are complemented by a network website which presents profiles of the members and allows for forum discussions and the sharing of documents and other resources.

SEPS exchanges – linked to the Hydro Empowerment Network

In the last calls for SEPS project support WISIONS selected the following exchange activities from members of the HPNetwork.

Advocacy and Replication of Community Organisers for Micro Hydro Programmes in Southeast Asia (SEPS12)

Knowledge and Advocacy for Productive End Use of Micro Hydro Projects

Capacity Building for Micro Hydro Electronic Load Controller Technicians in South/Southeast Asia

Micro Hydro for Myanmar: Practice-to-Policy Dialogue with Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka

South-Southeast Asia Concrete Pico-Hydro Turbine Technology Transfer

Comprehensive data base on Reliable Load Controllers for Hydro Projects

Many photos of the Hydro Empowerment Network's activities can be found in their flickr photo stream.

Background

Pico and micro hydro power (P/MHP) systems (defined as systems with a capacity smaller than 100 kW) have huge potential in many remote areas around the world and especially in the humid and hilly regions of South and Southeast Asia. Although micro hydro is well established in several countries in the region, it has yet to reach its full potential.

The needs that are primarily addressed for off-grid communities are electrical services, such as for lighting and communications, as well as productive and agricultural uses such as milling or irrigation. In the current context of high fuel and electricity prices this technology can also play an important role in generating clean electricity in areas that are connected to the national grid, but which suffer from an unreliable electricity supply.

The need to develop a network was highlighted by several organisations working with WISIONS. As a first step a workshop was held in February 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. There were 10 participating organisations, from the Philippines, Thailand, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, together with members of the WISIONS team. As a result of the ideas generated during this workshop the Hydro Empowerment Network was formed.

Coordination and support

For the initial three years, the regional coordinator responsible for the network activities was  Janathakshan (Guarantee) Limited, located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Since 2015, MHP expert Dipti Vaghela has taken over the coordinating role. 

The network was initiated and is primarily supported by the WISIONS initiative.

More information on how to become a member of the Hydro Empowerment Network is available here.