Great article on how micro hydel projects are changing the face of rural and remote Nepal..interesting to note that 20% funds for setting up a micro hydel projects come from the community and these projects take just 21 months on average to start producing. Thats seems like a remarkably short gestation period. In Chitwan region, there are villages which have not taken a penny from the government and have set up their own micro hydel projects. The electricity bill per family in this remote setting is barely 40-50 Rs. per month. It would have taken years or even decades for grid connected power to reach these areas.
Grid connected small and large hydros have not contributed this brilliantly to the local electricity scene.
So we have a states like Uttarakhand where hydros generate more than 3000 MW of power, but most of it is sold outside and more than 1200 villages are still without electricity, having lost their rivers in the bargain. In the same Uttarakhand, agencies likes UREDA are working on micro hydel projects less than 2 MW and have till now electrified more than 250 villages with just 3.41 MW. Unfortunately, the large dam lobby neglects these projects entirely as they do not generate market based profits. These are the projects and initiatives which deserve support through mechanisms like CDM. But
, the large hydro dominated scene right now is just Andher Nagari Chowpat Raja.
Incidentally, Climate Change is a spoiler for these micro hydels too. This year in Nepal, many villages had to again succumb to darkness as the water levels in rivers fell abnormally. A great adaptation and mitigation measure against Climate Change is itself so vulnerable to its impacts..