Large hydropower plants are common in Vietnam, with a combined capacity of over 15 GW, but there are also technologies that are suitable for small-scale use in local streams. Micro-hydropower generation can be a convenient, low cost way to provide electricity to a community. Villages and towns built close to a stream can utilise its flow to generate energy to meet some or all of its needs, without disturbing the natural flow or flooding land.
Potential projects include:
Gabion and channel micro-hydropower is a useful option for high energy mountains streams where turbines submerged in the flow would be damaged by rocks. If the topography allows, they can also be designed to increase the flow rate and energy generation capacity of slow moving water. With this system, a turbine is installed in the channel for power generation before the water re-enters the stream.
A vortex turbine system, which extracts energy from water by creating a vortex around a vertical axis which powers a turbine, so it requires only minimal fall. A benefit of vortex turbine systems is that they have minimal impact on the aquatic environment because the systems are enclosed and water is discharged at a speed that does not create turbulence or add to erosion. An interesting potential use of a vortex turbine system is in irrigation channels. Because they do not need fast flowing water and return water to the channel at the ambient speed, they can be used to provide electricity to rural communities with no impact on the environment or agriculture.
Possible sources of funding include:
- Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility
- Efficiency for Access Coalition
- GEF Small Grants Programme
- NAMA Facility
- ResponsAbility Energy Access
- Thanh Hoa Microfinance Institution
- Vietnam Climate Innovation Center