A framework for evaluating the current level of success of micro-hydropower schemes in remote communities of developing countries

M. Arnaiz, T. A. Cochrane, A. Calizaya, M. Shrestha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Micro-hydropower (MHP) schemes can be a good option to meet the energy demands of remote communities in developing countries, particularly in mountainous areas with good water supplies. Physical (i.e. head and flow) and economic requirements are essential for MHP scheme feasibility, but social, environmental and political factors can also be critical for the performance and longevity of the scheme after its installation. MHP scheme feasibility evaluation, thus, requires a holistic approach, where the socio-economic characteristics of the community, electricity policies and other geophysical parameters of the environment have to be considered. This study identified the most important criteria for evaluating the success of MHP schemes from the communities’ point of view based on site visits and interviews with developers, operators and key community members of 35 schemes spanning Nepal, Bolivia, Cambodia and the Philippines. Proper regular operation, ongoing support by the community, and long term support from the government or local developer were key factors for MHP scheme success. The most recurrent failure reasons were maintenance difficulties, extreme weather events, and the arrival of the national grid. A framework to evaluate the current level of success of existing schemes was developed and applied for cross country comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy for Sustainable Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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