|| For nearly 30 years, entrepreneurial technicians and community-based innovators have been quietly growing Myanmar’s micro-hydropower sector with very little outside support or guidance, whether financial or technical. Today, hundreds of pico- and micro-hydropower projects now dot the rolling landscape of Shan, Kachin, and Chin states. As a result, at various times since at least 2000, stakeholders from the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, local private sector, international aid agencies, and local & international non-governmental organizations have reported on the importance of productive end-use as an important consideration when assessing the socio-economic viability and sustainability of off-grid micro-hydropower projects.
Understanding rural productivity and cottage industries relating to sustainable renewable energy projects is as pertinent now as ever, as the Government prepares to roll-out its World Bank-funded National Electrification Project. Accordingly, under the direction of the NEP, the Department of Rural Development will oversee the development of off-grid and “pre-electrification” mini-grid projects to serve an estimated 31,000 and 155,000 households, respectively, over the next five years.
There is enormous potential in these off-grid and pre-electrification areas for micro-hydropower (MHP) projects to serve a socio-economic driver by supplying community-owned cottage industries with clean, affordable energy during daytime plant operation.
This study aims to amalgamate the findings and recommendations of case studies and policy papers from the last 15 years, reinforced by a primary field study conducted in early January 2016.