40 years of Olade’s Regional Program for Small Hydropower Power Plants

The Latin American Energy Organization (Olade) commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Regional Program for Small Hydroelectric Power Plants (PCH), “whose objective was to promote the massive implementation of small hydroelectric power plants in the region, as a partial response to the challenge of developing rural and remote areas by taking advantage of the existing water resources in Latin America and the Caribbean”.


During the years that the Olade Program was in operation, it published several studies in its ”Energy Bulletin” and ”Energy Journal” publications, mainly focused on the development of methodologies, technologies and equipment for SHP. Starting in 1984, the Organization began to compile information on the experiences of the countries of the region in the planning and construction of small hydroelectric power plants.


This information was published, between 1987 and 1988, in four editions called “Regional Document on National Experiences in Small Hydroelectric Power Plants.”


The first document explains that practically all of the 15 countries that were surveyed had or were in the process of establishing a National SHP Program, with a view to supporting the social and economic development of the rural sector, simplifying and reducing the cost of installing these plants.


Case studies from the following countries were published in subsequent issues of the document: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.


Since the 1980s, small hydroelectric power plant projects have expanded around the world and the debate on the social, environmental and economic impacts generated by these projects has grown in the last two decades.


During this period, the debate has also grown in terms of cumulative and synergistic impacts, as well as environmental assessment, especially when several small hydroelectric power plants are concentrated in the same river basin (cascade effect).


In this context, Olade with the cooperation of researchers from the Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro (UENF) and the Universidade Federal de Rondonia (UNIR) of Brazil will carry out a dossier, whose central theme will be to understand the current situation of small hydropower plants in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the face of contemporary environmental conflicts. The aim is to provide an overview of the sector 40 years after the implementation of the Organization’s Regional SHP Program.


In this regard, the energy sector community and interested parties are invited to submit papers on this topic. Accepted papers will be published in a Thematic Dossier in the ENERLAC Journal in June 2022.


The call for papers will be made through the official communication channels of the participating institutions (social networks and website).




Target audience: researchers, specialists, professionals and academic community of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.

First deadline for article submission: June 15 to October 31, 2021.

Publication of accepted articles: June 2022.

For more information contact: enerlac@olade.org

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