A few months ago, in my normal course of work looking for news on hydropower worldwide, I came across a rather fascinating story.
According to the story -- which I found here but was run by several other news sources -- a partnership between vocational teachers and students and local people is resulting in construction of a 100-kW hydropower plant in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.
The mastermind of the project is reported to be Manus Daomanee, president of the Toyota Automotive Technological College.
The project was funded by charity -- Daomanee launched two charity campaigns and is contemplating a third to buy needed equipment -- and is designed to provide free electricity for a local school and a temple, as well as potentially providing free lighting on local and public roads at night, when demand from the school and temple is low.
The hydro plant is located at the foot of Doi Luang Chiang Dao Mountain, on a stream that “never ran dry,” according to Manus.
Lecturers and students from Samut Prakan Technical College have helped in welding, designing and assembling key parts of the plant. Daomanee hopes the project can become a learning center in the future.
It is unclear the current status of this project. It may already be built and operational. Regardless, it is a great example of how small hydro can be developed to benefit local communities, and how far dedication to an ideal can go.
On another note, I am a bit saddened to report that this will be the last Hydro Talk blog published on HydroWorld.com. The editors have had a good run (three years!), but we find our time would be better dedicated to providing you with more straightforward news coverage of events in the global hydroelectric power industry -- on our website, in our newsletter, in our two magazines and at HydroVision International.
We may occasionally put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) to bring you our views on fun/unique stories that may not have an obvious news angle. Look for these among our regular editorial coverage on this site.