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Huóshuĭ Small Hydropower

Clean energy for Chinas remote mountain communities


The powerful rivers of China's mountainous areas can be harnessed to generate electricity for its remote communities and the wider region, but hydroelectric power plants require substantial investment to set up. Prior to the project, local communities experienced poor living conditions. At a time when 80 percent of Chinas energy demands were met by coal-fired power stations, these communities had unreliable access to electricity and there was little regional investment.

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Sustainable Development Goals

Quality Education

192 students

involved in educational programmes, learning about environmental protection

Gender Equality

240 women

employed by the project, representing about 25% of total workers

Affordable and Clean Energy

740,000 MWh

of renewable energy generated on average annually

Decent work and economic growth

179 people

in surrounding villages take part in agricultural training programmes

Climate Action

369,000 tonnes of CO2e

mitigated on average each year

The Solution

Huóshuĭ Small Hydropower consists of 95 small hydropower plants. The small-scale plants range in capacity from 0.1 to 14 MW, and together supply enough renewable energy to power over half a million average Chinese homes each year. Their run-of-river design allows them to do so with minimal environmental impact. The cost of developing hydropower plants in remote locations is a significant barrier to construction, so this project would not be possible without the revenue generated by carbon credits.


"About 80% of the workers in the team are from an ethnic minorities. It's a harmonious team."

He Jianfu, worker at Lishadi Hydro plant, Nu Minority


The Impact

Huóshuĭ Small Hydropower helps diversify Chinas energy sector and provides local employment opportunities in power plant construction and operation, helping to alleviate regional poverty. The project activities also fund social initiatives in cooperation with local organisations, including disaster relief funds and educational programmes, such as those aimed at improving the lives of children whose parents have migrated to the cities for work. Sustainable agricultural workshops create increased income opportunities for local farmers, while the reliable electricity supplied by the project gives remote communities better access to electrical appliances that ameliorate their daily life.


"I like the training very much. The technician has taught me how to graft fruit trees"

Li Dazi, a local farmer on receiving training from the project

Project Progress


Project Progress

Agriculture in Yunnan

Two agricultural training programmes were held for almost 200 villagers in Yunnan to learn about growing local fruit, tsaoko amomum, improve corn cultivation and implement pest and disease control measures. After the workshop, 180 sets of agricultural tools were delivered to participants.


Project Progress


The project organised an education programme about air pollution for local primary students in Wulong and Wanzhou. They were also provided with new books, vacuum cups, and stationary.


Project Progress

Improving health in Guizhou

In Guizhou, the project organised a free health check-up for the local communities, with special focus on the eldery. As well as seeing a doctor, they received medicine and vitamins.


Project Progress

Social Impact Report

In November 2018, South Pole worked with local NGO, the Yingjing Sunshine Volunteer Association, to fund a field trip for 95 left-behind children from Miaogang Village Primary School. Read the Social Impact Report.

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Project ID: 300494

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