Philippines: Harnessing Hydro Energy for Off-grid Rural Electrification E-mail
Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hydro power is considered the largest and most mature application of renewable energy. The installed capacity worldwide is estimated at 630,000 MW, producing over 20 percent of the world’s electricity. In the European Union, hydro power contributes at least 17 percent to its electricity supply. Translated in terms of environmental costs, the hydro installations in the European Union are instrumental in avoiding 67 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

There is yet no international consensus on how to classify hydro systems by size. The European Small Hydro Association however has included in the definition of small hydro those systems with capacity up to 10 MW. The Philippines has adapted the European nomenclature, but further breaks down “small” systems into “mini” and “micro.” RA 7156 defines mini-hydro systems as those installations with size ranging from 101 kW to 10MW. By inference, microhydro systems refer to installations with capacity of 100 kW or less.


Philippines: Harnessing Hydro Energy for Off-grid Rural Electrification

Prepared by the Society for the Advancement of Technology Management in the Philippines with the support of the Department of Energy and U.S. Agency for International Development as part of the Technical Assistance to the DOE for Enhancing Private Sector Participation in Renewable Energy.

Small hydro power plants are mainly ‘run-off-river’ systems since they involve minimal water impounding. As such, they are regarded environmentally benign forms of energy generation. It is estimated that a 5-MW small hydro power plant that can supply power to about 5,000 families, replaces 1,400 tons of fossil fuel and avoids emissions of 16,000 tons of CO2 and more than 100 tons of SO2 annually.

In the Philippines, the Department of Energy has identified 1,081 potential sites of small hydro installations that can produce power up to 13,426 MW. There are currently 102 micro-hydro and 45 mini-hydro operational installations, with aggregate rated capacity of 85 MW. Still in the pipeline for development until year 2008 are hydro projects with a total capacity of 76.8 MW. The projected demand for hydro power is expected to reach 0.29 MMBFOE by year 2008.

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