Modular Pico-hydropower System for Remote Himalayan Villages
04 - Beitrag Sammelband oder Konferenzschrift
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Remote, high-altitude villages in the Nepalese Himalayas belong to the poorest and most underdeveloped communities in Nepal, with many still years/decades away from access to electricity. It is common that first-time electrification of these villages is through a 15–50 kW micro-hydropower (MHP) system, subsidized by the Nepal government. The majority of the so far installed MHP systems in the region are however within 3–12 months after they have been commissioned either inoperable due to premature equipment breakage, inappropriate operation, and absent maintenance or do not provide the expected power output. No mechanism is put in place to build an operating and maintenance fund, further putting the longevity of the system at risk. The “dreams” of villagers, promised by such development projects, remain unfulfilled and most often shattered. This paper describes a modular pico-hydropower (PHP) system (1–5 kW) being pursued in the village of Moharigaun in the Jumla district of Nepal whose capacity can be expanded as the village’s power demand, population, and ability to operate and maintain the system grow. This modular PHP system provides reliability through redundancy and the elimination of some of the more maintenance-prone components. The turbine water and electricity delivery infrastructure are buried to protect them from the elements and potential mischief. Most importantly, a prepayment system with remote disconnect capability ensures households pay into an operations and maintenance fund. The whole village community is actively involved in each step of the project (planning, implementation stages, and training), so they will develop a strong ownership for their PHP system. Further, local people, chosen by the community, will be trained to properly operate, administer, and maintain the PHP system.