Hydro EMPowerment Network

Knowledge Exchange for Community Micro Hydro in South and Southeast Asia

The Hydro Empowerment Network aims to advance sustainable small-scale hydropower for community empowerment in the global South. Its goals are to provide an effective south-south knowledge exchange platform and to transform knowledge exchange into action, by building the capacity of local change agents.

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HPNET Streamside Chat: Micro-Hydro in Pakistan

News from WISIONS posted on November 26th, 2021

Have you checked out the podcast series “Streamside Chats” of our partner network HPNET yet? They just published the third edition of their video podcast, which aims to bring grassroots innovators and international experts together, providing first hand insights about small-scale hydropower and its wide-reaching implications for community empowerment.Read moreMinimize

The podcast episode takes a close look at Pakistan’s small-scale hydro sector, which has been growing substantially over the last decades. The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and its regional partners have been developing and implementing thousands of systems in close cooperation with rural communities. To learn more about the program, HPNETinvited Sherzad Ali Khan, the Coordinator of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral in northern Pakistan, to join the discussion.

Along with the podcast host, Dipti Vaghela, he highlights the role community ownership models played for the successful implementation of micro and mini hydro systems. They also dive into the possibilities of community development through the support of local organisations to establish participatory, democratic and transparent governance institutions.

Don’t miss out on their insightful discussion on Streamside Chats



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Upcoming events

HPNet's next webinar in its Mini-Grids Webinar Series 2019 is on Tuesday, 17 September 2019. Read more here.

Introduction

Pico and microhydro power (P/MHP) systems (defined as systems with a capacity smaller than 100 kW) have a 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, which was attended by 10 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 practitioners of small-scale (<1MW) hydropower for the advancement and advocacy of resilient hydropower, towards equitable and sustainable development of rural communities in South and Southeast Asia.

The network provides an effective south-south 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.

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.

Recent Events

The Hydro Empowerment Network hosted a Deep Dive Workshop on 17 June 2019 at the Asia Clean Energy Forum in Manila in collaboration with WISIONS. The topic was "Hydro Mini-Grids in the Asia-Pacific: Scaling Inclusive Enterprise-Based Approaches". You can see the highlights here:


Coordination & Support

For the initial three years, the regional coordinator responsible for the network activities was the Sri Lankan organisation Janathakshan (GTE).

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.