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With the help of MiddSTART funding, we will install a micro-hydropower plant that will provide hydroelectricity to a small village in Nepal, thus providing positive social change by improving the community’s education and economic independence. MiddStart funding will be used to register a non-profit, the Kalpana Organization which leverages local resources to bring social and economic changes […]

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Dollars Raised: 100%

Funding Details

Deadline: Dec 31, 2011
Total needed: $2,000

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Dristy Shrestha '11.5
Psychology
Kathmandu, Nepal

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With the help of MiddSTART funding, we will install a micro-hydropower plant that will provide hydroelectricity to a small village in Nepal, thus providing positive social change by improving the community’s education and economic independence.

MiddStart funding will be used to register a non-profit, the Kalpana Organization which leverages local resources to bring social and economic changes in innovative ways. The organization will finance the first micro-hydropower plant using a Cross-flow Set in a rural village in Nepal. With the help of this renewable source of energy, this project will replace kerosene lamps, reduce dependence on firewood and prevent its hazardous risks. Providing electricity to the village will enable children to study at home and at night, thus improving the quality of primary education, which is essential for community development.

In this project, a rural village in Bhimkhori VDC will collaborate with the organization to generate 5KW hydroelectricity for 79 households from local Mamti river. We will partner with local Nepali companies that will provide funds to cover the remaining amount needed for the completion of the project. Cross-flow set and other necessary equipment will be purchased from local manufacturers and suppliers. Local technicians with experience in micro-hydropower development will be recruited to help the villagers in construction and installation work. The organization will also partner with a Nepali educational institution offering Rural Development Program. Interested students will help us take surveys and collect data enhancing their practical knowledge and skills in this subject. These indicators will help the organization to monitor and evaluate the project’s performance with respect to its original objectives.

The Cross-flow Set combines a cross-flow turbine with an electric generator, and is easy to install, operate, and maintain in mountainous regions. Transmission and distribution costs are low since the set is installed near the stream in the village. During construction, the villagers will be involved in the installation, encouraging active involvement of the community members and motivating them to sustain it. The reliability, durability, feasibility and simplicity of the system makes it a doable development project.

The cost of registering and starting up the organization (approximately $500) will be covered by the funding requested. The remaining $1,500 will help  purchase Cross-flow set for the first micro hydropower project. However, the actual cost of the hydropower project has been estimated to be at least $7,000. The local partner company will provide approximately $4,000 financial aid and the remaining $1,500 will be fundraised directly by the organization. After the successful generation of electricity, the organization will help the community to apply for a government subsidy through Alternative Energy Promotion Centre. Since it takes about 1.5year to receive the fill amount of the subsidy, any loan (without interest) will be paid then.


  • Dristy

    First of all, I deeply apologize for the delayed update. Sadly, the progress of our project has been incredibly slow. The good news is that we now have a nonprofit, Kalpana Organization registered in the state of VT.

    I have been working on putting together the contents for its own official website. Our goal is to have it launched by the end of this academic year.

    The biggest challenge in this project is the fact that it requires building an actual infrastructure. This has not just demanded a lot from the project in terms of cost, but also made it more challenging to convince local institutions to collaborate with us.

    Due to this, we have had to make several adjustments to our initial plan. Unfortunately, it was only after raising the funds and getting all the technical details of the location that we discovered that our limited funds were insufficient to proceed in the proposed location. Since then we have been in search for a new location where the local community would be willing to collaborate with our team in the installation of a hydropower plant in their village. Our best lead so far is a rural village in Nuwakot district. Bishnu Adhikari, a Nepali graduate of Monterey Institute of International Studies, who is also an engineer is currently helping us finalize this location.

    As mentioned above, building an infrastructure, which is the central part of this project has led us to various challenges that require time to resolve. For example, when we find a new potential location, we do a thorough study of the village, the lifestyle, socio-economic state of the villagers, the active local institutions there and also need to perform a technical survey to collect information about the river, the possible site for power house and so on.

    However, in this process we have managed to successfully expand our networks to various technology companies in Nepal, and several individuals actively involved in this industry that are employed at private or government offices. We believe that we will be able to leverage these contacts as soon as we finalize the location.

    On the other hand, the lead that we got with the help of Mr. Adhikari looks very promising. As our team-member, an engineer on-site continues to gather more information regarding the village and the technical details needed to move forward.

    We hope that you understand the difficulties we have been facing. We are all truly very thankful for your generous support and assure you that no matter what hurdles we have to cross, we will continue our efforts to ensure that your support directly goes to our goal of bringing rural development through hydropower.

    I will surely update any concrete progress that we make via our website and through email. Please feel free to ask about any other information, or extend any help. Thank you!!

  • Paul W.

    Dear Dristy,

    What an exciting project! I am a fluvial geomorphologist for a water resources restoration firm and I focus on the removal of obsolete dams. Traditional hydropower has many drawbacks while microhydro power has great promise, particularly in rural, developing-world settings. I have to ask, will this hydropower installation involve a dam, and if so, has there been consideration of the ecological ramifications?

    My soapbox: You likely already know that older dams are being removed primarily to restore the passage of migratory fish that have been driven to the brink of extinction after being cutoff from spawning grounds. These fisheries are integral to freshwater/marine ecosystems, and were an important source of food and livelihood before they were decimated. Second, dams are also removed because they have exceeded their structural design lives and are at risk for catastrophic failure that endangers life and property. Of course there are other important reasons for removing obsolete dams such as to benefit resident (non-migratory) fish and other aquatic organisms (invertebrates) and to restore river functions such as sediment transport, the interruption of which is also ecologically and socially problematic.

    I would love to support this project but would be dismayed if hydropower was being developed in Nepal in a way that could result in the same loss of livelihood, nutrition and ecological integrity that early hydropower has done to the US.

    Looking forward to your response!

    Cheers,
    Paul W. 99′

  • Dristy

    Wow! This is one of the most pleasant surprises I have got! Last night when I went to bed, I was 49% short to reach the goal for my project and this morning when I woke up, I only had 29% to go. Thank you so so much for your generous support! It is incredibly exciting and encouraging to see such a great leap and be so close to the goal. I am going to take this as the green light to move to the next step and register the non-profit. Please do sign up for the RSS Feed so that you can automatically receive the updates and I can let you know when the registration is complete.

  • Dristy

    Thank you so much to all of you for supporting this project! I cannot thank you enough for getting the ball rolling. It really means a lot to me. I encourage you to sign up for the RSS Feed so that you can automatically receive the updates once I start the onsite work.

    • Prateek

      Congratulations Dristy and all the best!

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