Exchange: Improving the Sustainability of Micro-Hydropower Projects: Development of Knowledge-Sharing Tools

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The purpose of this exchange is to increase the technical and economic sustainability of micro-hydro projects.

When comparing inherent aspects of different mini-grid technologies, micro-hydropower (MHP) has clear advantages: (a) far lower investment costs and levelized cost of electricity; (b) no need for battery storage; and (c) the reliable technology can be procured locally. These advantages make MHP the most economically viable mini-grid technology for rural communities with agricultural-based productive end uses. However, most MHP projects generate excess electricity and operate at low plant load factors, which also leads to low levels of feed collection and to financial difficulties for many MHP projects. Most could achieve greater economic impact by technically and socially integrating quality technology that supports high productive end use. The purpose of this exchange is to increase the technical and economic sustainability of micro-hydro projects. To that aim, a set of three knowledge-sharing tools will be developed to collect and systematise knowledge and experience from micro-hydro practitioners from South and South-East Asia. The tools will cover the following topics: 1. The Micro-Grid Code This guideline document will set standards for environmental impact, civil construction, transmission and distribution, and electro-mechanical hardware. 2. Centralised Micro-Hydro Technology Database This live database will make information about MHP suppliers accessible in all HPNET countries, including details that help to determine the standard of quality. 3. Training Module: Increasing MHP Load Factor a. Simulation tools to help village stakeholders understand the need for the electronic load controller; b. Indicator and monitoring device that assists households and developers to analyse and optimise their MHP usage; c. Local workshop to test and refine the tools.

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