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.
WISIONS at Deep Dive Workshop on 17 June 2019 in Manila
News from WISIONS posted on June 11th, 2019
Renewable energy mini-grids are a cost effective and time efficient solution for energy access. Within the technologies available for mini-grids, micro and mini hydropower (MHP) has added advantages. Where resources exist, small-scale hydropower produces the lowest cost energy. Its techno-economic characteristics (e.g. lower levelized cost of energy, per kilowatt investment cost, and no need for energy storage) allow for economic viability with high social impact, including affordable tariffs, extensive productive end use, and viable grid interconnection. Because its hardware can be manufactured locally and maintained by local actors, MHP development imparts local skills, jobs and enterprise development. It also strengthens catchment areas and watershed protection, which in turn increases climate resilience and integrated development of rural communities.
In recent years, there has been a transition to innovative ownership, management and financing models for mini-grid development – where the income generated has been sufficient to ensure the financial viability and sustainable operations of small-scale hydro projects. The success has been achieved by a variety of enterprise-based models most appropriate for the local context, including among others, cooperatives and community-private partnerships. These approaches show evidence of improved bankability of MHP systems, with greater social and gender inclusion at the same time. The session discusses prospects for scaling, replicating and financing such proven enterprise-based approaches to small-scale hydropower in the Asia-Pacific region.
This DDW will provide development partners and professionals (both experts and generalists) the opportunity to understand recent innovative approaches to sustainable small-scale hydropower, in terms of economic viability and social impact. The session will feature key experts who have enabled enterprise- based hydro mini-grids in the Asia-Pacific region, drawn from a cross-section of government, private sector, NGOs, civil society and financiers.
The objectives of this DDW are to:
· Provide an overview of the types of ownership, management, financing, and integrated development models for enterprise-based hydro mini-grids, with examples from several countries in the region.
· Identify opportunities for scaling enterprise-based hydro mini-grids, both in terms of transitioning grant-dependent models to credit-financed enterprise models and also establishing new projects with enterprise-based approaches.
· Discuss solutions to overcome barriers to scalability of high social impact, enterprise-based small- scale hydropower, including building local institutional capacity and access to local and development financing.
· Explore the role of development partners and other stakeholders in strengthening knowledge services that enable partnerships to scale enterprise-based hydro mini-grids.
Find out more about the Workshop here: Deep Dive Workshop
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.
The Hydro Empowerment Network hosted a side event at the 2018 IOREC Conference from 31 October – 1 November in Singapore. It was entitled "Accelerating Financially Viable Hydro Mini-Grids: A Closer Look At Small-Scale Hydropower In S/SE Asia". Watch Dipti Vaghela showcase Myanmar’s financially viable Mae Muk Waterfall micro hydro project and its associated productive end uses:
Currently, there are no upcoming events.
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.