The development of strengths and weaknesses in the sustainable operation of micro-hydropower plants in Nepal: a project process analysis

Joe Butchers*, Sam Williamson, Julian D Booker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review

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Abstract

Evaluating the sustainable operation of community owned and operated renewable energy projects is complex. The development of a project (site implementation) often depends on the actions of diverse stakeholders including government, industry and communities. Between these stakeholders and the technology itself, new relationships and responsibilities develop. Furthermore, throughout the project cycle, decisions are made and actions taken that later affect the sustainability of the project. By understanding the impact of critical events throughout the project process, it is possible to find approaches for developing more sustainable community energy schemes. In this paper, the typical project cycle of a micro-hydropower plant in Nepal is used to demonstrate that key events throughout the project cycle affect a plant’s ability to operate sustainably. Through a critical analysis of the available literature, policy and project documentation, and interviews with manufacturers, strengths and weaknesses in the operation of plants are found. Examples include weak specification of civil components during tendering, quality control issues during manufacture, poor quality of construction and trained operators leaving their position. Opportunities to minimise both the occurrence and severity of threats to sustainability are identified. For the micro-hydropower industry in Nepal, recommendations are made for specific actions by the relevant stakeholders at appropriate moments in the project cycle. More broadly, the findings demonstrate that the complex nature of developing community energy projects requires holistic consideration of the complete project process.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020
EventSustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment System) conference - Cologne, Germany
Duration: 1 Sep 20205 Sep 2020
Conference number: 15
https://www.cologne2020.sdewes.org

Conference

ConferenceSustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment System) conference
Abbreviated titleSDEWES 2020
CountryGermany
CityCologne
Period1/09/205/09/20
Internet address

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • stakeholder
  • community
  • hydropower
  • mini-grid
  • Nepal

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