event 26 Jun 2014

Water-Energy Research // Water/Energy Nexus: what renewable options for small-holder irrigation?

This question is answered by two new publications by SNV which analyse how biogas and renewable energy can be used by smallholder farmers for their irrigation needs.

Shutterstock 126019424
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SNV is an international not-for-profit development organisation, founded in the Netherlands 50 years ago. SNV's aim is to alleviate poverty by focusing on increasing people's income and employment opportunities in specific productive sectors, as well as improving their access to basic services including water, sanitation and hygiene, and renewable energy. The {www.snvworld.org/files/documents/transforming_the_use_of_biogas_in_pakistan_-_household_application_to_small_holder_irrigation_0.pdf|

"Transforming the use of Biogas in Pakistan"

study} focuses on the growing need to power ground water-pumping using reliable, affordable sources of electricity. It examines how Pakistan small-holder farmers, who are facing excessive electricity and diesel prices, can tap into the vast population of cattle and the highly favourable climate to facilitate the production of biogas from manure as a sustainable and affordable alternative to power engines for irrigation. In this context SNV has been working with local enterprises to install biogas digesters which generate more energy savings than diesel. This study explores the role of technology transfer, costs analysis, opportunities and constraints in the productive application of biogas, and future roles for the partners. The {www.snvworld.org/files/documents/re_for_smallholder_irrigation.pdf|

"Renewable energy for smallholder irrigation"

publication} focuses on experiences of using Renewable Energy water pumping options by smallholder farmers in developing countries. It includes an overview of conventional and renewable alternatives (wind pumps, solar PV pumps, solar thermal pumps and biogas) and compares, using a basic calculation model, the potentially viable options under specific conditions and for specific smallholder characteristics. Though limits to the success of the publication are analysed, the publications highlights however that the tipping point where RE-powered irrigation systems become more economically attractive than fossil-fuel alternatives is fast approaching, provided that effort is put on policy issues, market and supply chain barriers, awareness-raising and financing needs.

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Cecilia Vey

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