San Martin Hydro

Debt : October 2017

San Martin is a 6MW, greenfield, run-of-river hydroelectric project.

Amount

€ 6,421,625.00

Type of investment

Debt

Development impacts

  • Local economic growth
  • Access to basic services & goods
  • Fight against climate change and preservation of natural resources

Beneficiary locations

Latin America and Caribbean: Nicaragua

Investment field

Infrastructure

Activity

Energy - Hydro

Organisation

San Martin Hydro

Interamerican Hydroelectric Corporation (IHC, S.A.) is the developer. They also developed, own and operate the 13MW HidroPantasma project in Jinotega which entered operations in early-2013. The project is cofinanced by Triodos Groenfonds.
San Martin is located on the Bijao River which is a tributary of the Rio Tuma.

San Martin is a typical small-scale, 6 MW run-of-the-river hydro project: a dam of around 18 meters high captures water into a small lake; while maintaining an ecological flow in the original river bed, water gets deviated through a buried ‘penstock’ (steel pipe) to the turbine house 3 kilometres further downstream (and 82 meters lower), where it passes through the turbines and back into the river bed. The electricity generated by the connected generators - around 26 GWh/year, corresponding to the consumption of around 43,000 households, based on a monthly average use of 600 KWh - is delivered onto the grid through transmission lines that feed into the substation of the distribution company.

Generating clean energy, the hydro plant contributes to countering climate change by saving up to 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The energy it produces is a direct substitution for imported heavy fuel which is utilized in outdated plants; the project is the equivalent of 2,000 tons of oil-equivalent per annum. The project will also increase the reliability of energy supply by adding decentralized generation capacity to the system, facilitating distribution expansion in the poor and remote area where the project is located.

This run-of-the-river plant became operational in July 2019.

Development impacts

  • Local economic growth

    There’s is a substantial benefit in the form of employment generated, as well during construction (80-100 local staff) as thereafter (15 staff), as sponsor employs and trains local staff only. This is particularly relevant in an area which is one of the poorest in Nicaragua (on a national poverty scale of 1 ‘low poverty’ to 4 ‘extreme poverty’, the area concerned is rated 4) .

  • Access to basic services & goods

    In addition to employment, locals expressed their appreciation of the project improving access of fields and farms only accessible on foot so far.

  • Fight against climate change and preservation of natural resources

    The major development impact of this project regards the access to basic service which is energy. The plant will provide around 25000 MWh/year corresponding to approximately the consumption of 14.000 households. It will also contribute to fighting climate change by generating clean energy and save up to 20.000tCO2eq/year (0.8 kg/KWh). Energy produced is a direct substitution for imported heavy fuel which is utilized in outdated plants ; the project is the equivalent of 2000 tonnes of oil equivalent per annum.
    The project will also increase the reliability of energy supply by adding decentralized generation capacity to the system, facilitating distribution expansion in the poor & remote area where the project is located.

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