Save Article Instructions

Small Hydro

World Bank provides funds for renewables programs

The World Bank is providing funds and credits to Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Ethiopia to help fund renewables programs that promote the use of small hydropower in those countries.

Sri Lanka: US$40 million

The bank approved US$40 million in financing to the government of Sri Lanka for a program of renewable energy for rural economic development that includes small hydro. The program is a continuation of one funded by a US$75 million credit from World Bank’s International Development Association.

South Africa: US$17.3 million

The bank approved a US$17.3 million program to advance renewable energy development, including small hydropower, in South Africa. The bank board also voted to establish policy, regulation, and institutional capacity to promote renewable energy market transformation.

The program supports South Africa’s 2003 White Paper on Renewable Energy, setting a target of 4 percent of demand met by 2013 from renewables, including small-scale hydro. South Africa generates 75 percent of its electricity from coal, making it Africa’s largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions believed to contribute to global warming.

South Africa’s Department of Minerals and Energy is responsible for implementing the program and designated the Development Bank of Southern Africa its implementing agent.

Ethiopia: US$130 million

The World Bank approved a US$130 million credit to expand rural access to electricity in Ethiopia, including mini-grid systems to be supplied by small hydropower projects.

The bank’s International Development Association is providing the credit to the Second Electricity Access Rural Expansion program to bring grid, mini-grid, and off-grid power to 295 towns and villages benefiting about 1.8 million people.

The off-grid expansion component aims to connect 30 rural towns using renewable technologies, including small hydro. An appraisal of the program envisions hydro projects to be run-of-river developments, typically of about 200 kW.

Swiss utility to invest in Norwegian small hydro

Swiss utility Aare-Tessin AG fur Elektrizitat (Atel) plans to invest 200 million francs (US$164.7 million) in the development of small hydropower plants in Norway over the next seven years.

Atel said it plans to add plants in Norway, totaling 100 MW and generating an annual 475 gigawatt-hours (Gwh), to its portfolio of existing and planned small hydro plants in Switzerland and Italy. It will establish a new company, Ecopower Scandinavia, to take responsibility for building and operating the plants.

Currently, 12 projects are being planned to be built over the next three years. They are to generate more than 130 Gwh annually to be marketed to an Oslo-based Atel subsidiary, Energipartner AS. Project sites are in western Norway between Stavanger and Trondheim and in northern Norway between Bodo and Tromso.

Atel founded Atel Ecopower AG in Switzerland in 2006 with an initial injection of 50 million francs (US$41.4 million) to develop small hydro plants.

Banks to fund Central America energy program

Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), United Nations Development Program, and World Bank’s Global Environment Facility (GEF) are financing a program to advance renewable energy development, including hydropower, in Central America.

The agencies formed the Accelerating Renewable Energy in Central America (ARECA) program to stimulate financial organizations of the region to finance sustainable energy projects such as small hydropower, wind energy, and cogeneration with biomass fuel.

CABEI President Harry Brautigam said his agency always has been involved in renewable energy generation, with a portfolio of financed projects of US$514 million. He said the bank plans to approach financial intermediaries with the project developers to accelerate investments to increase short-term power supply.

CABEI is to be the executing agency for ARECA, granting financing through financial intermediaries and with support of guarantee funds. CABEI is providing US$25 million, while GEF allots US$6.92 million for the program.

Project developers sell CO2 emissions reductions

Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Center (APEC) said it will sell 191,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reductions until 2012 to the Community Development Carbon Fund.

APEC said money raised through the sale of emission reductions would support development of 15 mw of micro-hydropower projects in rural areas of Nepal.

The developer expects to install the micro-hydro projects, ranging from 5 to 500 kW, by 2011. Plants are to be installed in communities by pre-qualified private companies that receive subsidy and credit support as well as technical assistance. Most plants are to be managed by the communities.

The program is supported by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the governments of Denmark and Norway. APEC signed an agreement covering terms of the transaction with officials of the World Bank, which manages the Community Development Carbon Fund, and the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) program for reducing CO2 emissions.

Guatemala’s 13-MW Montecristo applies for approval

Generadora Montecristo, a subsidiary of ENEL Latin America, applied to the United Nations’ CDM agency for approval to generate and sell carbon emissions credits from the 13.08-MW Montecristo hydroelectric project on Guatemala’s Samala River.

As part of the approval process, the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification carried out a project validation investigation, resulting in a recommendation that the application be approved.

The Executive Board of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change previously issued a registration for a sister project to Montecristo, the 11.7-MW Matanzas hydroelectric project, developed by another ENEL subsidiary, Tecnoguat S.A., on the Matanzas and San Isidro rivers.

Spanish agency validates Chile’s 9-MW Ojos de Agua

AENOR, one of a number of CDM validation agencies, also carried out a project validation investigation of the 9-MW Ojos de Agua hydroelectric project in Chile. It recommended approval of that CDM application, noting the run-of-river project would result in annual reduction of 20,870 tons of carbon dioxide.

Ojos de Agua is being developed by Endesa Eco, a unit of utility Endesa Chile, on La Invernada lagoon in the Andes. It is expected to begin operation in the first quarter of 2008, generating 48 gigawatt-hours annually for Chile’s grid.

165-kW project benefits Guatemala communities

The new 165-kW Chel Micro Hydro project in Chel, Guatemala, is generating electricity for 450 households in the remote highland communities of Chel, Las Flores, and Xesai.

Fundacion Solar, a non-governmental organization based in Guatemala City that promotes renewable energy, developed the project. It also helped the Mayan communities form Asociacion Hidroelectrica Chelense to administer and operate the project. Green Empowerment provided technical expertise in assessing the system design and helping to ensure the system works properly.

During construction of the project, community members built an 8-kilometer dirt road for transporting equipment to the project site. Each family in the communities contributed 80 days of labor to participate in the system and to connect homes to the grid.


The ministries of Energy and Natural Resources and of Environmental Protection in Kazakhstan are working with the United Nations Development Program to draft renewable energy legislation that envisions construction of 1,000 MW of small hydropower. … Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority entered an agreement with an unnamed Russian company to develop small hydro projects, primarily in remote areas not served by the transmission system or in areas where the plants can reduce transmission losses.

To access this Article, go to: