The Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) recently launched its Small Hydropower Campaign, which aims to promote the benefits of decentralised small hydropower solutions among decision-makers in developing and emerging markets. The private sector investing in these markets hopes this technology will increasingly become part of the preferred energy options for rural communities as they constitute an excellent solution for enhancing energy access.

During this half-year Campaign, ARE aims to approach energy sector decision-makers in targeted countries through workshops, webinars and one-on-one meetings to assess their country’s or community’s energy needs, fill information gaps and share best-practices on small hydro development.

All these recommendations are publicly available in a new position paper, “The Potential of Small Hydro for Rural Electrification – Focus: Latin America”. The paper focuses on the innovative aspects of small hydro to make it a competitive technology for rural development and includes case studies from Smart Hydro Power, UNIDO - Regional Center for Small Hydro-Power in Africa, and Fundación Solar, Guatemala, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The paper also provides detailed technical information, explains the considerable benefits of small hydro as well as its role in reducing energy poverty and creating business development. Last but certainly not least, it addresses the current challenges, opportunities and public sector support options for small hydro in Latin America.

Marcus Wiemann, Secretary General of ARE said, “Decision-makers have a major influence in unlocking the great potential of competitive small hydropower technology. This Guide identifies policy tools that national and local governments can implement to bring the benefits of small hydropower to their communities”.

The opportunity that small hydro represents for the population and businesses located in rural areas of developing countries is also underlined in this paper. Four of the main benefits of this technology:

  • Huge potential for this clean, local and environment-friendly energy source
  • High competitiveness, mature and economical
  • Predictable and reliable output
  • Small hydro schemes can be designed to recover energy from existing infrastructures

ARE’s main recommendations to energy decision makers:

  • Amend policies and legislation on electricity tariffs, subsidies and concessions in such a way that the development of small hydro is favoured or at least not impeded.
  • Establish policy targets for small hydro and further develop specific support funding/finance schemes for small hydro and/or technical assistance to the banking and microfinance sectors.
  • Invest in capacity building and expand the availability of data on potential sites and meteorology.

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For further information or request of images please contact:

Ling Ng

Public Affairs Department