ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 4, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 23
Financial Times  

South Asian pooled power urged to tackle crisis

By L.B. Senaratne

A top Sri Lankan engineer has suggested that a SAARC Grid for electricity should be established and that countries like Bhutan and Nepal which have extensive small hydro power resources could be used for meeting regional power requirements.

Nihal Rupasinghe, conference chairman, made this recommendation at the "Hydro Power Sri Lanka" International Conference conducted at Kandy’s Hotel Tourmaline for four days in which 30 countries with around 150 delegates participated.

They discussed the use and the benefits and also ' pooled ' their knowledge towards gearing for small hydro power projects.

The conference ended on Wednesday with a "Kandy Declaration" presented by co-chairman of the conference Arun Kumar who is the Head of the Alternate Hydro Energy Centre of the Indian Institute of Technology.

Presenting the Kandy declaration, Kumar said that one of the countries which has utilised small hydro power effectively is China.

He said that small hydro power plays a small but definite role in meeting electricity needs especially in remote and rural areas in a sustainable manner. Governments, financiers and developers are finding new ways to fund and promote small hydro power development.

There are several good showcase projects demonstrating the usefulness and effectiveness of small hydro power applications. The region also has a good pool of expertise. The region earlier deprived of investment is now receiving a large inflow of investment in these countries. The investment is coming from both domestic as well from international sources.

The declaration had 11 recommendations accepted by the conference unanimously.

Some of the highlights of this declaration were that small hydro power requires specific studies in several areas like hydrological estimates, sediment management, environmental flows, intake works, model projects for livelihood means, inter connectivity and renovation of old small hydro power stations.

Small hydropower is one of the best ways of taking electricity to economically deprived rural population in a sustainable manner and requires special intervention by respective governments.

It said small hydropower is to be made cost effective and a long term investment opportunity.

While ensuring quality and reliability of the power station, there is an urgent need to develop and make available the manual and guidelines for small hydropower with necessary powers of acceptance of research and innovations.


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