Lack of access to modern energy services is a serious hindrance to economic and social development. Access to modern energy services is of utmost importance in eradicating poverty and empowering people living in the rural areas. Nagaland Empowerment of People through Energy Development (NEPeD) is addressing rural energy needs through installation of standalone hydroelectricity. Its aim is to meet energy demand and improve the socio-economic conditions with solutions which are environment friendly.
“Hydroger” is a water mill or pico-hydro power system with an electrical power output of 3- 5kW. The term ‘Hydroger’ (derived from Hydro and Generator) was coined by NEPeD (Nagaland Empowerment of People through Energy Development), which has indigenized developed this technology R&D and application in the field.
Hydroger uses the hydraulic power of falling water through a delivery pipe (penstock) to power a reaction or impulse turbine. The turbine is attached to a generator, which converts the mechanical power into electricity. A Hydroger comprises of a cylindrical cast iron casing housing a generator, which is connected to the turbine through the shaft. The turbine converts the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy and then the generator converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy. Hydroger efficiency is around 75-80%. One of the critical components of Hydroger is the Electronic Load Controller (ELC), which was exclusively developed by a private entrepreneur supported by NEPeD. The ELC stabilizes the output voltage and frequency of the generator through an electronic sensor and dummy load.
Hydrogers can be used for electrification of rural homes empowering people by providing access to clean energy for their basic need of lighting, mobile charging, comfort and productive work. Electricity from hydroger proven to be very beneficial for commercial and small/micro scale industrial activities such as lighting up wayside amenities, weaving, carpentry, juicing, milk chilling plant, poultry etc. A supply of reliable electricity to these types of activities increases productive hours and encourages youths for self-employment and start-ups.
Since 2008, NEPeD has installed indigenously made hydrogers in more than 40 locations within Nagaland and few systems in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Electricity is supplied for villages lighting, street lighting, community lighting and commercial activities.
Apart from the environmental benefits from clean energy generated by hydroger, it brings all round development to the community of the project area. Access to clean and reliable electricity has direct positive impact on lifestyle, education, health and economy of people living in the villages. Lighting up homes will help in empowering women and society at large by providing quality work space and extended time for productive work, education and entertainment.
Similarly, providing reliable electricity ensures profitability to business and small/micro industries and encourages youths to start-up new enterprises. Energy generation, supply and maintenance activities of hydroger projects provide employments to local people and develop skill in that sector.
Cost for implementing a hydroger project is highly site specific. Typical budget for developing a 3-5kW hydroger project is around Rs.2, 50,000.00
[Source: Discussions with NEPeD officials]