Community Hydropower Dam Lights Up Salvadoran Villages

Neftalí Membreño (R), in charge of the machine room, checks the turbine and generator of the mini hydroelectric plant in the village of Potrerillos, Carolina municipality in the eastern Salvadoran department of San Miguel. This small rural community made up of 21 families built a small dam in 2006 that supplies them with electricity at a low cost. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS - The people of Potrerillos, El Salvador, worked hard to harness the waters of the Carolina River to install a community hydropower plant, which supplies them with cheap energy

Neftalí Membreño (R), in charge of the machine room, checks
the turbine and generator of the mini hydroelectric plant in the
village of Potrerillos, Carolina municipality in the eastern
Salvadoran department of San Miguel. This small rural community
made up of 21 families built a small dam in 2006 that supplies them
with electricity at a low cost. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

By Edgardo Ayala
CAROLINA, El Salvador, Oct 7 2020 (IPS)

The people of Potrerillos, a village located in northeastern El
Salvador, worked hard to achieve something that many doubted they
could do: harness the waters of the Carolina River to install a
community mini hydroelectric plant, which supplies them with cheap
energy.

The project got underway in 2005 in this village in the
municipality of Carolina, in the eastern department of San Miguel,
and the plant began operating in 2006. It benefits 40 families not
only in that community but also in the hamlet of Los Lobos, near
the neighbouring town of San Antonio del Mosco.

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The work was carried out with the assistance of the Basic
Sanitation, Health Education and Alternative Energies (Sabes)
association. Financing was provided by the government of the
Spanish region of Navarra, and funds for the electromechanical
equipment came from the Energy and Environment Alliance with
Central America.

The total cost of the project was 120,000 dollars.

The design included an aspect that guarantees environmental
sustainability: the water that moves the turbine returns to the
river, so its flow is not affected by the mini power plant.

The lives of the inhabitants of Potrerillos, who are mostly
subsistence farmers, have improved with the arrival of
electricity.

Gone are the days when nights were lit by candles and kerosene
lamps, and now the villagers can watch TV, enjoy a cold drink or
charge their cell phones at home, without having to go to
Carolina.

One important advantage is the cost of the energy: local
households pay between two and five dollars a month, compared to a
monthly power bill of around 25 dollars in neighbouring
villages.

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Community Hydropower Dam Lights Up Salvadoran Villages
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Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Community Hydropower Dam Lights Up Salvadoran
Villages