Possibilities for small scale hydropower in Honduras
With an increased demand of electricity it is in everyone´s interest that investments are made to promote sustainable options, and the question on how to supply clean and sustainable energy is global. In this bachelor’s thesis, funded by SIDA and Åforsk, the intention was to investigate the possibilities for renewable energy in Honduras, a developing country with an expanding energy sector.
Honduras is Central America´s second largest country, located in-between Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The country is one of poorest in the region, and the trade is characterized by the import of oil and export of coffee and fruit.
Hydropower has played a major role in the development of the Honduran electricity sector, but today oil based thermal power has the largest share of the energy market. It accounts for more than half of the total generation which makes Honduras very vulnerable to changes in the oil price. The remaining share of generation comes from renewable sources, mostly hydropower. The potential for hydropower in Honduras is estimated to be about five times bigger than the current installed capacity. With a constantly rising oil price, building new hydropower or refurbishing old is becoming more and more competitive. This is the reason for this thesis; to investigate the possibilities for small scale hydropower in Honduras. Information has been gathered through contacts with energy organizations as well as examples and experiences from refurbished or upgraded hydropower plants and other relevant hydropower projects. With this information barriers and possibilities in the process of refurbishing, upgrading and building hydropower plants in Honduras have been identified.
Our conclusion is that developing small scale hydropower in Honduras is very demanding; applying for required permissions, studies, financing, construction etc. are barriers which all require hard work. Considering this we still believe that the possibilities and positive impacts are greater than the barriers and negative impacts when developing small scale hydropower in Honduras thanks to legislated incentives. The positive impacts that can come from building and refurbishing hydropower plants include: cheaper electricity, improved roads, power lines, and schools, promotion of rural electrification and creation of new job opportunities. Small scale hydropower can help Honduras use its natural resources and create a sustainable development for a brighter future.
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