Micro-hydro makes the grid reliable
The Cooperativa de Energia e Desenvolvimento Rural do Medio Uruguai Ltda (CRELUZ) is a member-run cooperative that manages a local section of the electricity grid in the state of Rio Grande do Sol in the South of Brazil.
When CRELUZ was established in 1966 its first priority was to extend the grid to the many homes within its 13,000 km2 area of operation that had never been connected. But it's not just access to the grid, it's a reliable electricity supply that is critical to the sustainability of rural communities. With Brazil developing rapidly, and along with this the national demand for electricity, the supply to areas at the far end of grid lines has deteriorated. So reliability had become a pressing concern for CRELUZ.
The solution was to build its own local generating capacity to boost the grid supply, in the form of mini hydropower plants. The six plants are 'run-of-river' which means that they don't need large dams and therefore have only minor impact on the local environment. And the 4 MW of power which they add to the local grid has brought reliability to the supply for the 80,000 residents. Reliable power means greater opportunity for income generation and less migration to cities. In its commitment to sustainability, CRELUZ has begun a complementary programme of reforestation.