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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Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Micro Hydro Plants in the Philippines

News from WISIONS posted on December 11th, 2017

Since 1995, several micro-hydro plants have been installed in the province of Abra in the Philippines. However, many of them are now suffering from technical, organisational and financial difficulties. One of our SEPS projects (LINK) aimed to restore and upgrade the Adugao MHP as a demonstration project and to develop a working plan to rehabilitate other power plants in the region.Read moreMinimize

The Adugao power plant is a small 7.5 KW power system in a remote area in northern Luzon, the Philippines. Before its construction in 2000, neighbouring indigenous communities relied solely on firewood for lighting purposes and had never experienced electric power. 13 years later, the system had started to show major signs of wear and poor maintenance.

In 2015, local partner SIBAT with funding from WISIONS started a rehabilitation programme aiming to restore the potential of the Adugao MHP. Over the last two years, SIBAT has:

  • fully restored the power plant, which now operates 24/7
  • avoided system downtime by providing a constant water flow
  • installed a load controller and constructed a reliable concrete canal

Furthermore, a tariff system suited to the local economic context has been established. For example, people in need can pay for the service by in-kind payments of rice, which follows the local tradition of sharing. A potentially self-sustaining maintenance and management team has also been put in place.

The successful project development demonstrates that access to energy can be acquired and sustained through a community-based approach in which the local population formulates and enforces policies to manage and care for an energy system.

More general information on this project is available here: Rehabilitation and Upgrading of an Existing Micro Hydro Power Project in the Province of Abra, the Philippines


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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, three network gatherings have taken place. The first was in Malaysia in 2013, the second one in Indonesia in 2015 and the most recent event in Nepal, 2016.

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.