The Gariuai Mini Hydroelectric Power Project was the first mini hydropower station built in East Timor (Timor-Leste), finished in 2008. Water is collected from two springs, Wainalale and Builai, and is piped 1700 metres down to a powerhouse with turbine, 187 metres lower. Up to 202 litres per second of water create enough pressure to run a turbine generating a maximum of 326 kW (thousand watts), depending on availability of water, which changes during the year. The water is released back to a stream, to irrigate rice paddies and supply villages. This is clean, renewable, environmentally friendly energy, with low operating costs, as opposed to the existing use of polluting and expensive diesel generators.
Electricity is important for any country. Reliable and suffcient supply of electricity strenghten public administration, health, trade, services, and industry. East Timor experienced limitations and supply disruptions, a problem for both operation of existing infrastructure and the development of new – making it harder to create work and revenues.
Gariuai MHPP was a result of cooperation between the governments of Norway and East Timor to strengthen the energy sector. Funding and technical support from Norway. The work-force came from surrounding villages, labourers receiving on-site training. The national electricity authority EDTL contributed some materials for the transmission line, and the environmental authorities DNSA to environmental screening and monitoring plan.
Basil Rolandsen of Bouvet Foundation supplied documentary photography and video on the construction of Gariuai MHPP, as well as a brochure (printed and PDF), and a web site with blog (now defunct).
The Norwegian Senior Adviser to the project, Mr Alf Adeler:
“In short, the water from two springs generates electricity before it flows into the rice paddies. This reduces the need to burn expensive and polluting diesel. Local people have been trained and employed through the construction phase. The power plant will, with proper maintenance, run for 100 years. It is a fine initiative, and I am proud to be a part of it!”