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close this bookGATE - 4/92 - Networking: Lessons and Hopes (GTZ GATE, 1992, 56 p.)
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The mini hydro Power Group

by Thomas Scheutzlich and Reinhold Metzler

The MHPG (Mini Hydro Power Group) is a group without formal structure pooling experience and know-how beyond institutional boundaries for the benefit of micro and mini hydro programmes in developing countries.

MHPG actively monitors new developments in hydro technology both in Europe and around the world. This allows to disseminate the state of the art, and to make an effective contribution to the implementation of projects.

MHPG offers a Technical Enquiry Service for all institutions, organizations and individuals having questions related to mini and micro hydro power development. This service is being financed by the GTZ/GATE-ISAT project.

The comprehensive know-how of the group covers to a large extent the information needed. Whenever necessary, access to specific expertise can be arranged.

MHPG members are linked to documentation systems, allowing access to their experience in the field of mini and micro hydro power. Specialized libraries on hydro power have been built up and are kept up-to-date. They serve as an information base for visitors and the Technical Enquiry Service. Management of most of the documentation systems is entirely computerized and selective bibliographical printouts can be routinely provided on request. MHPG provides drawings and design packages for mini and micro hydro power components as well as training and software-packages for planning and implementation.

It is the aim of the group not only to facilitate access to proven technologies but also to initiate and support processes of technology transfer wherever possible.


The initiative of forming such a networking group came from FAKT (Fordergesellschaft fur angepasste Technik, Stuttgart) in 1988 when the edition of a publication called "Hydronet" was started. "Hydronet" is a newsletter for the interchange of information, publication of worldwide local experience and reports on successes and difficulties in project and programme implementation.

With the involvement of other European organizations dealing in mini and micro hydropower like SKAT (Swiss Centre for Appropriate Technology and Management, St. Gallen), ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group, U. K.) and GATE. "Hydronet" quickly developed into an international platform where experience, opinions and know-how related to micro and mini hydropower development are published and fruitfully interchanged. The editorial committee of "Hydronet"-today consisting of GATE, FAKT, SKAT, ITDG, Project-Consult (Konigstein, Germany) and PPL (Projekt-Planung-Lauterjung, Germany) formed the nucleus of which MHPG was born as an European micro hydropower network.

"Hydronet" is, therefore, a tool for international cooperation. It offers information on new developments in hydropower as well as basic information on standards.

"Hydronet" is open for everybody to make comments, contributions, and to ask questions. Hydronet gains its quality from the response of the readers.

Since 1990, "Hydronet" got a twin brother, the Spanish edition called "Hidrored" which quickly grew up to an equally important publication in Latin America. "Hidrored" is jointly edited and published in Lima/Peru by ITDG and PROMIHDEC (Programma de Minicentrales Hidroelectricas y Desarollo Energetico en Cusco). The "Bahesa Indonesian" version of Hydronet is in the planning phase. An editorial committee in Jakarta has started its activities.

Training Courses

Since 1986, 4 Training courses in mini and micro hydropower development were organized by SKAT for trainees from all over the world who are involved somehow in the planning, execution and operation of hydropower schemes.

The 15 - 20 participants of different countries from Asia, Africa and Latinamerica, were trained for 4 weeks in Switzerland in theory and praxis of mini and micro hydro power schemes, project planning, management and development as well as in the elaboration of case studies. An one week excursion to interesting micro and mini hydropower sites in Switzerland rounded up the picture the participants obtained during the course.

In 1992, for the first time the training course was jointly carried out by the members of the MHPG network.

The course took place in Switzerland, utilizing the interesting facilities the training and demonstration hydropower station in Churwalden offers for such events.

The trainers of the '92 course came from the MHPG-members FAKT, ITDG, PPL and Projekt Consult and worked free of charge. This networking activity resulted in a cost reduction from approx. 8,500 s. F. to 5,000 s. F. for each participant, which represents a drop of costs of approx. 40%.

MHPG - Publications

The MHPG-Series "Harnessing Water Power on a Small Scale"is edited under the label of MHPG. The series started with the volume "Local experience with micro-hydro technology" in 1985 and was first edited and published by SKAT.

The series resumes the experience made by the involved parties in numerous programmes, projects and aims at covering the know how in all aspects of micro hydro power development.

In the meantime, 11 volumes have already been published or are in preparation to be published in 1992 of which the last 5 volumes are published under the MHPG label. The series is now edited and published by two different publishers in Switzerland and Germany having, however, the same layout indicating that this is a MHPG publication.

GATE and SKAT are working closely together in order to maintain the same layout of these publications. The series will be continued reporting present experience.


The Mini Hydro Power Group (MHPG) is made up of European AT organizations. The group's technical journal >Hydronet< is also published in a Spanish edition (>Hidrored<), with the emphasis on Latin America. MHPG coordinates training, information supply and documentation and makes technical drawings and construction plans for micro-hydropower plants available to those interested in the technology.

IT Publications of ITDG is publishing its own series of publications dealing with hydropower technology. However, a complete "Micro Design Manual" has been published by IT Publications in association with MHPG.

However, not all the initiatives taken by the Mini Hydro Power Group have been crowned with success. In June 1991, for example, at a conference of mini-hydropower experts in Cusco, Peru, great enthusiasm accompanied the founding of ALAHIDRO (Asociacion Latinoamericano de Pequenas Aprovechamientos Hidroenergeticos). But the network never became active despite several stimuli from organizations in other regions, and in particular from the periodical Hydronet/Hidrored. One of the reasons for this failure (at least so far) was a lack of funds. Meanwhile, revival attempts have been started both from within and outside the network.


Le Mini Hydro Power Group (MHPG) se compose d'organisations europeennes de technologie appropriee. Ce groupe public une revue technique (>Hydronet<) qui est egalement editee en espagnol (>Hidrored<) et qui se consacre tout particulierement a l'Ameriparties in numerous programmes, projects and aims at covering the know-how in all aspects of micro hydro power development que latine. Le MHPG se charge de la coordination entre la formation, l'information et la documentation et met a la disposition des personnel interessees des dessins techniques et des plans de constructions pour des centrales hydro-electriques de tres petite taille.


El Mini Hydro Power Group (MHPG) consta de organizaciones europeas sobre la tecnologia adaptada. El grupo publica una revista tecnica (>Hydronet<) que tambien se edita en castellano (>Hidrored<) con enfoque especial de America Latina. MHPG coordina la formacion professional, la informacion y documentacion, y tambien pone a disposicion de personas interesadas los dibujos tecnicos y pianos de construccion pare centrales hidroelectricas de dimensiones minimas.


The MHPG network is jointly financed by international donor agencies like GTZ/Germany, DEH/Switzerland and the German Protestant Church Organisation "Bread for the World". Parts of the network's activities are also financed by own resources of its members. For the future, the MHPG network is seeking cofinancing from other international organisations in order to widen the international base of its supporters.
MHPG Contact Address: R. Metzler, Stephan-Blattman Str. 11, D-7743 Furtwangen, Germany Phone: + 49 7723 4459, Fax: +49 7723 5373