Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Micro Hydro Project: an option for development of Rural Areas

Energy is basic necessity forsurvival. It is one of the most essential factors for economic development. Basicallyenergy is used for lighting and power. In rural village it is derived fromdifferent sources such as kerosene, diesel, biomass, candles etc for lighting purpose. Fuel burning lanterns are the most common alternative of electric lights, which areconsidered to be a source of respiratory disease. Some of the housesuse torch lights and dry cells.
Micro hydro is an attractive choicefor electricity generation in rural areas or undeveloped communities where gridsupply is not available. Micro hydro project is a pioneering electricitygeneration system designed to cope with the lighting demand of houses in ruralcommunities where national grid isn’t available.  It is superior system for that community whereinvestment can’t be afforded for the large scale hydro and connection ofnational grid isn’t possible for many year but they need energy to developcommunities.

The micro hydro system is designed toprovide electricity by using the water resources available in the local areas.By taking the advantages of head and flow, water is used to generateelectricity. Micro hydro system is built with technology and materialsthat is found in local market. It consists of set that consists of synchronousgenerator; turbine and penstock pipe. Due to the availability of thesecomponents as well as the technicians, installation of the project is cheap.
Before the development of micro hydroproject there was a lot of consumption of fossil fuel such as kerosene, dieselfor lamp and operation of agricultural processing mill. Some of the houses usedChinese torch lights and dry cells for lighting purposes. There was consumptionof 45 liters of kerosene per year and 48 number of dry cell per house, now thishas been reduced to in number and also saves the money that were being investedin these materials. There was excess use of wood for cooking purpose and ‘Jharo’for lighting which was not the best solution for lighting due to its hazardsincluding environmental and health problems. They were not able to work atnight; student had to study in smoggy kerosene lamp. As a result, they wereliving an uncomfortable life. This had direct and indirect effect on theirhealth, reduced their work efficiency and led a life with lower indicator ofhuman development. 

After the development of micro hydroprojects, the consumption of fossils fuel has drastically reduced and use ofwood has also decreased. There is an establishment of agro processing mill suchas grinder and other local industries such as lokta processing, carpentry, bakery,poultry farm and cold store forthe preservation of vegetables and fruit for sending to markets which hascreated the employment in village and agro processing mill has providedfacility for people to grind their product
Until, MHP they have to walk longdistances or they have to pay high rate for grinding the product in dieseloperated mill. It has also saved the time of the people. Local industries havebeen increasing and people have been establishing electronics shop, computerinstitute and hotels which have provided job for people.
There is an operator for running theplant and maintenance of the power plant. The establishment of plant has alsoprovided job to some people.  School ofthat are now upgrading their school and providing students computer educationand other facilities to compete the student with city area. People are watchingTV which has also help them to see the world and other development in theworld. Development of Micro-hydro project has made the rural areas life a simplemanner.
The lifestandard of people in that area has increased and it helps them increase incomegeneration in household level. Success of this project has now become one ofthe factors to boost up the villagers lifestyle. They use electricity forlightning purpose and communication purpose. After the success of this project,students have opportunity to read at night in clean environment. People are nowmore engaged in different works for promoting their source of income such as inagriculture product and other locally available product etc. They are able todo their work at night time .The source of income and standard of life has been improved. People are now more conscious and aware of utilizing electricity; theyare now in search of creating more micro hydro project in the vicinity of thatarea. It helps to preserve the deforestation of forest.
The maintenance cost of the project is somehow problem in that area but if somepeople take trainings related to the plant then it will be benefit forvillagers. They can get knowledge about how to run this system properly and howto repair it when there is some fault or problem. This will create opportunitiesof job for some people. He/she will look after the system and they don’t needto hire other technician for simple problem, which also reduces the cost formaintenance.  It also helps them to notto depend on other people for any simple maintenance and repair. 
Thus in thedeveloping countries micro hydro can play vital role in the development of ruralcommunities. It is a better alternative for the area where national grid hasnot been available. The development of new technology and mini grid concept canhelp micro hydro for the long term sustainable.
 Published on Enchipher 2011