As oil and gas resources dwindle and the urgency to reduce CO2 emissions increases, hydropower and aquathermal systems offer sustainable alternatives for producing electricity and for cooling and heating buildings. Yet the potential for utilising these systems in many developing countries has not been properly explored and they are currently not considered to be economically feasible. This means the opportunity to service a wide range of activities, such as irrigation, (waste)water treatment, agricultural services and food processing, electric mobility, telecommunication and even healthcare and education, via these sustainable systems is being missed.
The renewable energy mix is often restricted to solar panels and wind power. Micro-hydropower and aquathermal heating and cooling are often overlooked, even when there are rivers and lakes close to communities and industrial sites. Different rivers and lakes offer different opportunities. Some are only suitable for micro-hydropower or aquathermal heating & cooling, some can have a combined use, while others are not suitable for either. A good understanding of the criteria is important for identifying the potential of the different areas.
The potential for utilising micro-hydropower and aquathermal technologies will be assessed in the context of Columbia. This will include an overview of the applicable local/regional legislation, a high-level map of river energy potential and a feasibility study for two detailed cases. This knowledge will be spread among local engineers, environmental organisations, governments and students via lectures, training sessions and workshops.