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Micro Hydro Basic Knowledge and Potential of Micro Hydro Power (MHP)

MHP for Rural Development

Iman Permana
the Training Programme on Renewable Energy : Micro Hydro Power for Rural Development in ASEAN Region Bandung, 18 25 June, 2012

Appropriate technology

Appropriate technology is technology that is most appropriate to the environment and culture it is intended to support. It is suitable for use in developing nations or underdeveloped rural areas of industrialized nations, which may lack the money and specialised expertise to operate and maintain high technology. In practice, it is often something that might be described as using the simplest and most benign level of technology that can effectively achieve the intended purpose in a particular location.

Increasing relevance for rural electrification

Micro-hydro power has been increasingly used as an alternative energy source, especially in remote and rural areas where other power sources are not viable. Small-scale hydropower systems can be installed at small rivers or streams with little or no discernible environmental effect on matters such as fish migration. Most small-scale hydropower systems make no use of a dam or seasonal storage system but are implemented as run-of-the-river hydropower plants.

Rural electrification In poor areas of the world, many remote communities still do not have access to electricity. Micro hydropower allows such communities to generate their own electricity. Many international organisations and governments support this form of development by project financing, support, favourable policy and technology transfer.

Advantages compared to conventional energy

Small-scale hydropower features many advantages compared to conventional energy sources. Small-scale hydropower
uses a renewable source of energy, i.e., water in the catchment area is not depleted but continuously replaced thanks to the hydrological cycle; relies on a non-polluting, indigenous source of energy; can replace petroleum-based generating systems, which rely on imported fuels; is a well-proven technology, well beyond the research and development stage and thanks to the small size of these schemes, their impact on the environment (river ecology etc.) can be kept at a very low level.

Nevertheless also a number of disadvantages have to be considered when comparing MHP to other energy sources. Small-scale hydropower
is associated with high capital (investment) costs; requires a considerable amount of specialist know-how which is not always locally available; note, that MHP is not simply a scaled-down version of full-scale hydropower but uses unique design and construction techniques; MHP schemes require a simple but continuous effort for operation and maintenance which rural communities are not always prepared to provide (lack of organisational capacities, lack of cash: issues which have to be considered carefully during planning).

Advantaged compared to other renewables

Even compared to other renewable energy sources such as wind, wave and solar power, there are a number of key advantages:
high efficiency of 70 - 90%, which is substantially better than any other energy technology high capacity factor of typically above 50%, (usually 10% for PV and 30% for wind) and therefore reliable in captive micro-grids high level of predictability, varying with annual rainfall patterns slow rate of change, the source from which power is generated varies only gradually from day to day (not from minute to minute) good correlation with demand over the day and over the year i.e. output constant also at night proven, long-lasting and robust technology; systems can last for 50 years or more and can relatively easy be handled on village-level

Mechanical Power

Alternatively, to generating electricity, micro-hydro power can be used directly as "shaft power" for many industrial applications. These productive uses may include but may not be limited to milling, husking and pumping.

Peoples participation
Because of the small size the projects allow the involvement of local villagers in the full range of activities, starting during the implementation up to the operation, maintenance and management; an advantage which can usually not be associated to large hydro developments. The involvement during implementation can reduce implementation cost and adds local (sweat) equity to the project, which increases also often the level of commitment towards the project.

Widespread potential Due to the small size of the plants suitable locations are widely spread (compared to large scale hydropower). In most cases a suitable location is found in the vicinity of a village. The decentralised electrification approach also leads to reduced costs for transmission lines.

Local manufacture Simple but sophisticated turbine designs and fabrication technique encourage local manufacture. considerably cheaper then imported equipment. service, know-how and spare parts available locally.

Flexible design approaches for civil works A wide range of designs and materials is possible for the civil works (compared to heavy concrete and steel structures used in large hydro).

Minimum adverse impacts Concerns on social or environmental impacts are rarely raised. Compared to large hydro projects, particularely if they incorporate large dams, small hydro - relocation and resettlement of local people is rarely required - environmental impacts are minimised - fish population is usually not decreased - arable land is usually not flooded

Operator and Management Training of MHP

Expected Outcome : Operator dan Manager are more skilled

o Development of training modules o Operator Training during construction and commissioning o Management training of finance and administration management

supplying electric power to the social needs

Expected Outcome: Social Infrastructure has access to electrictity/energy

o Increased awareness of the importance of providing electricity for social infrastructure o Provision of counseling about the importance given reasonable tariff to be paid any social facilities (not free!)

Productive End Uses

Expected Outcomes: trigerring local economic development o Production and dissemination of various media (posters, video) about the importance of electricity used during the day to trigger the development of small businesses in the village (see video) Assessment of potential utilization of productive Market penetration for rural businesses

o o

Learned Lessons
MHP development for rural electrification can be done commercially reasonable if the applied tariffs and the calculation period > 15 years. To ensure the sustainability of a MHP, collecting public funds should be sufficient to fund all operational, maintenance and reinvestment costs (this is often ignored). It is a good business plan should be drawn from the initial project. There are ability and willingness to pay a reasonable and fair tarrif in Indonesia, however, this is often not addressed properly by project executor so that there is a wrong policy by the public.

Lessons Learned (2)

An established technology is a key condition for sustainable development of MHP MHP project requires the alignment pattern of development by the MHP project funders (government, NGOs, ...) Standard development pattern that applies to other infrastructure projects may not be suitable for MHP projects. MHP technology, not technology "off-the-shelf"!

Summarising it can be said that small-scale hydropower is one of the most cost-effective and reliable energy technologies to be considered for providing clean electricity generation at the rural area, and as entry point for community development

Thank you