| Local Experience With Micro-Hydro Technology |
Countries that depend on imports of energy are compelled to step up domestic energy production due to the sharp rise (see fig. 1) in the cost of imported energy (mainly oil). This is particularly so for developing countries, where the oil import bill adds every year to the problem of financing an already large external deficit.
Source: World Sank 1980, Energy in the developing countries
Today, energy should rank in importance with the classical factors of production -land, labour and capital - in economic activities and general development efforts. This not only applies for imported energy but also for energy produced domestjca11y. Now and in the future, questions of energy supply can no longer be treated as a second priority because conventional resources are depletable and the switch away from such resources is inevitable.
There is no single resource or technology that could replace oil in the near future. Conservation of energy and the development of all new and renewable resources are necessary to reduce dependence on oil. Many developing countries possess considerable potentials that have remained unexploited while oil was cheap. Their development is quickly becoming economically viable now, but not all resources lend themselves to quick and easy exploitation. A number of relevant technologies are in the research or experimental stage, others have long gestation times due to their size and sophistication, on still others, environmental constraints limit political acceptability.