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10 micro hydroelectric power plants


icona ambiente bolcid 1Micro hydroelectric power plants for climate change adaptation



Bolivia, Provinces: La Paz, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca; Municipalities of: La Asunta, Villa Tunari, Pelechuco, Guanay, Apolo, Ixiamas, Inquisivi, Incahuasi






From April 1, 2014 to September 30, 2017



Bolivia is ranked among those countries with the highest poverty rate. Rural areas witness severe lack of employment opportunities, basic services and access to electric energy. The most isolated areas are not connected to the Sistema Interconectado Nacional (SIN). In order to tackle energy deficiencies, the local population has resorted to a community-based system of self-production (i.e. hydroelectric micro-plants).

This intervention was solicited by the local partner PRODENER, with the aim to provide local rural communities with access to sustainable energy in remote areas of Bolivia. Based on the use of hydroelectric technology the energy supply will follow a sustainable business model, capable of generating positive social and environmental impact.



  • Improving living conditions and access to renewable electric energy for the local population in rural areas of Bolivia;
  • Enhancing community-based management of micro hydroelectric plants for 990 households, located in rural provinces of La Paz, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca



  • Community construction of turbines and micro hydroelectric plants;
  • Installation of electrical lines for the distribution of medium and low voltage energy; connection of the new facilities to existing community services (halls, schools, clinics, etc.);
  • Community meetings to raise awareness on waste management and effective use of energy;
  • Constitution, organization and registration of 10 Local Electrification Committees (CEL);
  • Training of CEL members on operations, maintenance and administration of the facilities;
  • Trainings in the target communities on the use of energy for production (surplus of domestic consumption used for small productive initiatives)
  • Public competitions to allocate funds for initiatives aimed at a more efficient, innovative and productive use of energy;
  • Trainings for national, local and regional public organizations, engaged in the use of efficient and green hydroelectric technologies, including technical experts of the Viceministerio de Electricidad y Energias Alternativas;
  • Realization of radio campaigns to create awareness on renewable energy;
  • Study Visits to share experiences among students enrolled in the Master on Management of Water Resources in the International Cooperation, offered at the University of Bicocca in Milan;
  • Systematization and dissemination of good practices in Bolivia and Europe.



Direct Beneficiaries:
990 households - about 4,950 people (56 % women) - who will receive energy for a total of 458 kW.
All communities are of indigenous origin (Aymara and Quechua).
Technical experts of the Viceministerio de Electricidad y Energias Alternativas (VMEEA) as well as organizations and participants of training sessions and outreach events in Italy and Bolivia.

Indirect beneficiaries:
1.330 households (6.650 people) plus an additional group of 610 households that will be included in the planned feasibility studies. About 720 households (80 communities) that will benefit from the implementation of new projects.

In the long-run, a long-lasting impact on the living conditions of the local population will be attained, as follows:

  • Reduction of diseases caused by lack of electricity (eye disease, burns etc.)
  • Decrease in family expenditure on energy;
  • Increased economic opportunities (e.g. employment creation at the micro-power plants);
  • Reduced pollution from greenhouse gas emissions and chemical batteries;
  • Decreased migration to urban areas thanks to access to basic services and connection to the electricity grid.



The micro hydro-power plants represent the most effective, efficient and sustainable technical solution to provide remote rural communities with access to electricity. This intervention is sustainable at the financial, social and environmental level.
Rates are determined on the basis of operational costs as well as principles of equality and financial inclusion. This approach will ensure an overall financial sustainability, together with an extraordinary fund for plants’ maintenance. In addition, there will a surplus of energy to be sold to the Sistema Interconectado Nacional (SIN). Engaging local authorities (municipalities, Ministry Prefecture) will facilitate the improvement of public services (such as schools and clinics). From an environmental perspective, the micro-plants do not generate waste or harmful effects as large dams do. Micro plants will also reduce the quantity of firewood used to producer energy. Moreover, the intervention will be replicated in other areas where building new micro-plants and extending is feasible.


Programme Summary

Total Value::
1.715.369 €

Main Donor

mae Ministero Affari Esteri - Cooperazione Italiana


Other Donors:

chiesa valdese




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