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< prev - next > Energy CA_Toolkit PAC SmartFinal (Printable PDF)
Technology Name
Initiation Date and Duration
Financial support
Project Initiator
Overall Output
Energy services provided
Micro-hydro power
1993 - ongoing
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Practical Action
Practical Action (PA)
50 micro-hydro schemes installed
30,000 people with HH electricity connection and 100,000
more people indirectly benefitting through services and
businesses powered by schemes
Electricity for households and small businesses
Practical Action website and publications20 21
Background and project description
This project has been running since 1993 in the Andean region of Peru. It combines the provision
of appropriate finance with technical assistance to make possible the implementation of micro-
hydro schemes for electricity generation at village and community levels. The clients are farmers,
local business families, local authorities and groups of organized people who want access to
electricity and are committed to install a micro-hydro scheme. Electricity is used for a range of
productive uses and/or for village electrification. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
facilitated the start of that project by providing a soft loan to PA plus part of technical assistance
funds of the 6 first years. Presently the technical assistance is funded by a range of individual or
small funds from the UK.
Micro-hydro power is a local energy resource, which can be usefully harnessed for rural energy
demands from small rivers, where there is a drop of a few meters and the flow rate is more than a
few litres per second. Hydro is usually the cheapest of all electrification options for isolated
communities, where hydro resources exist. It is a mature technology, widely proven and now
manufactured in a number of developing countries. Hydro power can generate electricity and
mechanical power 24 hours a day, and is suitable for household usage, health and education
centres, communication and small and medium enterprises.
Delivery model
PA has developed two social management models to enable the implementation and sustained
micro-hydro projects in Peru. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined for all actors in the
The first model involves the local government as the owner of the micro-hydro system and
recipient of the loan. A Local Power Enterprise (LPE) is developed and contracted to operate the
system and sell electricity to consumers, an Assembly of Users (comprised of local individuals)
represents consumer interests in dealing with stakeholder issues, and consumers (individual
households and businesses) that use the electricity. The second model establishes a local
cooperative, business or individual as owner of the micro-hydro system on a more standard
commercial basis. The owner also operates the system and sells electricity to consumers. In both
cases the consumer tariffs pay for operation and maintenance of the system and operator wages.
Practical Action provides organizational development trainings and technical assistance for the
Renewable Energy to Reduce Poverty in Africa