Micro Hydro Energy for Sustainable Development

Micro hydroelectric power installation is defined as a plant between 10 kW and 200 kW. These provide power to isolated homes or small communities. These are the most mature and abundant form of electric power generation installations around the world particularly in the developing world. They provide the most economical source of energy with the need to purchase highly expensive and foreign exchange draining fosil fuel. There are thought to be tens of thousands of "micro" hydro energy plants operating in China and significant numbers in Nepal, Srilanka, Pakistan, Vietnam and Peru. Micro hydro plants aare shown to be profitable and have a greates positive impact on the lively hood of the poor people. They are environmenly sustainable due to low or no major dams need to contruct. This types of project can be used for rural electrification and lively hood improvement. Micro hydro energy frequently used with pelton wheel with low water supply. Installation only needs a small dammed pool at the top of the waterfall with several hundred feet of pipes leading to the a small generator.

microhydro plant construction are site specific. Supply of water is a stream or a river. A dam or reservori is not needed and they rely on year-around minimal flow of water. A intake structure is need to filter out debris, fish and large objects and have a gate to dewatered for maintenance. Most cost of the project is turbine and if it is long includes cannal. The turbine need a regulating flow valve. Water emerging form the turbine via a trailrace channel is return to the downstream. The turbine turns a electric generator which in turns connected to a electrical load -- such as system of single building or community power distribution system. A automated conroller maintain constant speed and frequency when generators load changes. Modern power electronics converts generator frequency to grid frequency where it can be easily connected the power grid for normal electric power usage. Very small few kilowatt range "micro" hydro power generators can be used along with batteries to store peak current for furthure use.