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.
The WISIONS Team Visits Two SEPS Projects in Nepal
News from WISIONS posted on December 12th, 2016
One of these projects, entitled Demonstration of Sustainable Low Head Pico-Hydro to Deliver Enhanced Rural Energy Services to the Terai Region of Nepal, is being conducted by PEEDA in cooperation with KAPEG. It aims to use micro hydro power generated by a low head propeller turbine to demonstrate the feasibility of this clean energy technology in the Okhaldhunga district of Nepal.
Two low head propeller turbines (1 kW and 3 kW) were recently installed and are now ready for operation. To ensure community involvement, an energy committee which observes all business stages has been formed and locally trained technicians will ensure reliable operation and maintenance of the systems. The turbines, as well as the used Electric Load Controller, were developed and produced in Nepal and are being tested in the field as part of this project.
The second visit was to the Community Managed Energy Service for Vegetable Market Chain project which is being implemented by Practical Action Nepal. The objective is to demonstrate the viability of an innovative management and finance concept for the installation of a community irrigation system by using a photovoltaic pumping system to increase production levels and enhance the quality and variety of the vegetables produced.
The entire village, which is in the surroundings of Kathmandu, is fully committed and very enthusiastic about the project. The company that will install the solar systems has recently been appointed; once the innovative irrigation system is up and running, it aims to allow for up to four harvests per year, a greater selection of crops and improved marketing/sales of produce to the capital.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
Many photos of the Hydro Empowerment Network's activities can be found in their flickr photo stream.
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.