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.
Workshop: Knowledge Sharing Between Micro-Hydro Practitioners
News from WISIONS posted on February 3rd, 2018
In Nepal, micro-hydro power generation is already widespread. Nevertheless, challenges such as poor management, weak technical skills and poor financial operation prevent community-owned micro-hydro plants (MHPs) from making a lasting impact on people’s livelihoods.
Our project partners at WINROCK have recently organised a knowledge-sharing workshop between the owners and operators of five malfunctioning and three successfully operating MHPs in Nepal.
Specific objectives of the workshop included:
- To survey current managerial issues and challenges faced by MHPs and to establish informal relationships among MHP user committee members to assess contributing factors
- To share findings of a baseline study with the participants
- To share MHP success stories and best practices to resolve management issues
- To carry out field visits at successfully operating MHPs
- The development by each MHP of an action plan to improve their performance
The participants gained a lot of knowledge from each other and will apply this to their MHP operations in the coming months.
More general information is available on our SEPS project page: Sharing Learning Across Projects: Operating Micro Hydro Plants (MHP) as Commercially Viable Enterprises
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
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.
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.
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.
Dipti Vaghela will take part in an IRENA side event at UNESCAP SDG7 on 21st February 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.
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.