In the western Himalayas, the entire village of Hamal is powered by a small hydroelectric plant on the edge of the Shalvi river. It produces enough power to light up 100 homes at a time, ending the village’s once-endemic power cuts.
Small hydro projects, producing up to 25MW, have the potential to transform India’s rural communities and are being driven by companies such as Vaishnavi Consultants, which completed the Hamal project in 2014.
The Indian government has said that by the end of March 2017 it hopes privately owned small hydro will be adding 7,000MW to the national grid, enough to power more than a million lightbulbs, although there is little indication as to whether they are on track.
For private companies that invest in small hydro, government subsidies and the growing demand for clean energy ensures a steady income. But after millions of dollars of investment, these plants, even at full capacity, can produce only a fraction of India’s total energy needs, so are they worthwhile?
Full post from The Guardian