Energy is basic necessity for survival. It is one of the most essential factors for economic development. Basically energy is used for lighting and power. In rural village it is derived from different sources such as kerosene, diesel, biomass, candles etc for lighting purpose. Fuel burning lanterns are the most common alternative of electric lights, which are considered to be a source of respiratory disease. Some of the houses use torch lights and dry cells.
Micro hydro is an attractive choice for electricity generation in rural areas or undeveloped communities where grid supply is not available. Micro hydro project is a pioneering electricity generation system designed to cope with the lighting demand of houses in rural communities where national grid isn’t available. It is superior system for that community where investment can’t be afforded for the large scale hydro and connection of national grid isn’t possible for many year but they need energy to develop communities.
The micro hydro system is designed to provide electricity by using the water resources available in the local areas. By taking the advantages of head and flow, water is used to generate electricity. Micro hydro system is built with technology and materials that is found in local market. It consists of set that consists of synchronous generator; turbine and penstock pipe. Due to the availability of these components as well as the technicians, installation of the project is cheap.
Before the development of micro hydro project there was a lot of consumption of fossil fuel such as kerosene, diesel for lamp and operation of agricultural processing mill. Some of the houses used Chinese torch lights and dry cells for lighting purposes. There was consumption of 45 liters of kerosene per year and 48 number of dry cell per house, now this has been reduced to in number and also saves the money that were being invested in 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 hazards including environmental and health problems. They were not able to work at night; student had to study in smoggy kerosene lamp. As a result, they were living an uncomfortable life. This had direct and indirect effect on their health, reduced their work efficiency and led a life with lower indicator of human development.
After the development of micro hydro projects, the consumption of fossils fuel has drastically reduced and use of wood has also decreased. There is an establishment of agro processing mill such as grinder and other local industries such as lokta processing, carpentry, bakery, poultry farm and cold store for the preservation of vegetables and fruit for sending to markets which has created the employment in village and agro processing mill has provided facility for people to grind their product.
Until, MHP they have to walk long distances or they have to pay high rate for grinding the product in diesel operated mill. It has also saved the time of the people. Local industries have been increasing and people have been establishing electronics shop, computer institute and hotels which have provided job for people.
There is an operator for running the plant and maintenance of the power plant. The establishment of plant has also provided job to some people. School of that are now upgrading their school and providing students computer education and other facilities to compete the student with city area. People are watching TV which has also help them to see the world and other development in the world. Development of Micro-hydro project has made the rural areas life a simple manner.
The life standard of people in that area has increased and it helps them increase income generation in household level. Success of this project has now become one of the factors to boost up the villagers lifestyle. They use electricity for lightning purpose and communication purpose. After the success of this project, students have opportunity to read at night in clean environment. People are now more engaged in different works for promoting their source of income such as in agriculture product and other locally available product etc. They are able to do 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; they are now in search of creating more micro hydro project in the vicinity of that area. It helps to preserve the deforestation of forest.
The maintenance cost of the project is somehow problem in that area but if some people take trainings related to the plant then it will be benefit for villagers. They can get knowledge about how to run this system properly and how to repair it when there is some fault or problem. This will create opportunities of job for some people. He/she will look after the system and they don’t need to hire other technician for simple problem, which also reduces the cost for maintenance. It also helps them to not to depend on other people for any simple maintenance and repair.
Thus in the developing countries micro hydro can play vital role in the development of rural communities. It is a better alternative for the area where national grid has not been available. The development of new technology and mini grid concept can help micro hydro for the long term sustainable.