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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Improving The Sustainability Of Micro-Hydro Projects Through Knowledge-Sharing Tools

News from WISIONS posted on October 23rd, 2018

One of our recent SEPS exchange activities aims to increase the technical and economical sustainability of micro-hydro projects by designing and offering micro-hydro practitioners a set of tools, including quality standards, accessibility to adequate technology, and community-led load management.Read moreMinimize

Over the last months, project activities generated the following progress:

  • Grid Code and Standards: Based on a comprehensive review of existing codes and their usability gaps, the project team around TONIBUNG developed a set of standards that will later be developed into a smart phone app.
  • Database of Service Providers: A list of MHP service providers in the region has been mostly developed and will go through one more review from Hydro Empowerment Network members to ensure all suppliers in the region are
included.
  • Load Indicator Device & Fabrication Manual: The aim is to create and document the design of a low-cost DIY load indicator device which MHP practitioners can provide to their communities. At this time, our project partners are assessing existing common devices and components to develop a custom device which any practitioner in the region could build at minimal cost.
  • Other tools which are currently being developed include an interactive visual tool on electronic load controllers

All tools will eventually be applied to several MHP communities which TONIBUNG/CREATE will then interconnect into one MHP system. 

Find more general information on this SEPS exchange activity here: Exchange: Improving the Sustainability of Micro-Hydropower Projects: Development of Knowledge-Sharing Tools


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Introduction

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. For a list of all members, please visit this link. For details on becoming an HPNET member, please follow this link.

Mission & Goals

The Hydro Empowerment Network aims to catalyse the advancement and advocacy of resilient micro hydropower, towards equitable and sustainable development of rural communities in South and Southeast Asia.

The network provides an effective knowledge exchange platform for

  • Technology development and innovation for robust implementation
  • Policy for sustainable impact and scalability
  • Cultivation of local experts, productive uses, and vibrant watersheds

Members aim to transfer knowledge exchange into action, by building the capacity of local change agents for

  • Technology design and dissemination
  • Ground-truthing policy ideas and outputs
  • Bottom-up project sustainability mechanisms

Activities

The network’s activities include collaborative research among members (both regional and country-specific), advocacy and bilateral and multi-lateral in-person exchanges, such as technical capacity-building workshops, practice-to-policy exchanges and network gatherings.

Network Gatherings

The meetings provide the opportunity for members to exchange knowledge and ideas in a face-to-face setting; to share experiences, gain new insights and build new partnerships, as well as to further develop and strengthen existing ones. The first two gatherings were held in Borneo/Malaysia, 2013 and in Bandung/Indonesia, in 2015, while the third was the first gathering in South Asia, held in Nepal in 2016.


Practice-to-Policy Workshops

HPNET’s practice-to-policy exchanges facilitate practitioners and other MHP multi-actors
to understand common goals in order to advance the sector.

Technical Training Sessions

HPNET members organise different forms of capacity-building sessions to strengthen the skills of local technicians and community organisers, who are often the first point of contact in local communities, e.g. training courses to build local capacity on concrete pico-hydro turbines, electronic load controllers (ELC) and advocacy through the development of multi-media skills (see details of linked SEPS exchanges in the right column).

Online Exchange and Web-Based Knowledge Portal

The different levels of face-to-face exchange are complemented by a network website presenting profiles of the members, members’ online forums and an online library of catalogued micro-hydro documents, multi-media products and a contacts database.

Upcoming Events

Dipti Vaghela will take part in and represent the Hydro Empowerment Network at the 2018 IOREC Conference from 31 October – 1 November in Singapore.

Coordination & Support

For the initial three years, the regional coordinator responsible for the network activities was Janathakshan (GTE) Limited, located in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Since 2015, MHP expert Dipti Vaghela (left) has taken over the coordinating role.

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