Water and sanitation innovation for Rural Development Programme
Small scale hydropower for rural electrification
Rural electrification has the potential to improve the standard of living of people in South Africa. Universal access to modern forms of energy is still far from being a reality in many parts of the country. Many remote areas – especially small settlements, villages or farms ‐ will never be connected to a national grid, often due to their remoteness, sparse population and relatively low average energy demands. Small scale hydro offers the opportunity for low cost and green energy options.
Rural electrification applying small-scale hydropower technology contributes to the Government’s objectives of poverty alleviation and potentially also to local economic development through the provision of basic electricity supply to communities. It aligns with the strategies of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and the Department of Energy. Although the institutional environment within which such projects are to be implemented is complex, renewable energy, standalone systems such as small-scale hydropower projects, can be implemented within this robust institutional and legislative environment. Understanding these protocols and policies will also empower project implementers to appropriately engage with all affected stakeholders.