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Honduras: La Esperanza Hydro
(Community Development Carbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 0009

1 Project Documents

Project Photo 1
(Photo: CISA)

Project Description: The La Esperanza Hydroelectric Project is a small run-of-river hydroelectric project, located in the mountainous rural region of Intibuca, Honduras - four kilometers from the city of La Esperanza. The project consists of repairing an existing old abandoned dam, as well as building 3 new power houses along the Intibucá River for a total of 12.7 megawatts of installed capacity. Thanks to the project, 37,031 tCO2e will be avoided per year by displacing diesel generation from the national grid. The CDCF would purchase about 54,000 tCO2e. Electricity generated by the project will be sold to the National Utility, ENEE through a 15 year contract.

Country Context: Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Most of the poor live in rural areas where the incidence of poverty is almost 75 percent. Only 37 percent of the rural population has access to electricity. The town of La Esperanza is the capital of the Department of Intibuca with a city population of approximately 8,000 and a surrounding community population of over 50,000.  The area is located in the mountainous region of the southern central portion of Honduras.  The local economy primarily relies on small farming.  The town of La Esperanza suffers from an unreliable electricity supply, characterized by voltage fluctuations and brown/black outs and towns nearby are entirely without power. The lack of power has stymied economic development and compromised livelihoods.

Project Photo 2
Ms. Esla Vasquez and family (Photo: CISA)
Benefits: A community benefits plan (CBP) additional to the main project was prepared at the initiative of the CDCF. The project developer carried out a series of meetings in the city of La Esperanza and Lepaterique, Santa Anita, and San Carlos, which are areas directly affected by the project as well as governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Project information was disseminated and meetings announced through various means, including local radio. To address any possible community concerns, the project developer, CISA, opened an office in La Esperanza in November 2000.

The main community benefit has been the provision of and access to reliable electricity supply to the town of La Esperanza and many of the surrounding communities, helping to reduce the consumption of fuelwood. In addition, the project has also provided much-needed local employment both during project construction (120 employees hired) and operation (70 local employees).

Another benefit is improvement to the basin where the water sources are located by means of reforestation and educational programs. Reforestation of deforested and degraded land in the project area includes 37,000 seedlings already planted, another 24,000 planted in spring 2004, and a continued expansion program thereafter.

Additional benefits include roads maintenance and repairs; provision of (non-potable) running water for a few households in the immediate vicinity of the project; first aid training; greater engagement of women in work life and community issues and efforts to engage the communities; and the municipality authorities to better manage the environment and the catchment area as a whole, including waste management.

Table: CBP Activities Summary

Deliverables Description
Improved electricity service to residents of La Esperanza The project improved electricity services for the town of La Esperanza (8,000 inhabitants) allowing for a reliable and high-quality supply covering the full demand by mid-2004. Until then the use of three phase motors, electric machinery, and so on for small businesses had not been possible.
Electrification of local communities without electricity Electrification of the community of Santa Anita (55 households) was completed in December 2004, and a $13000 donation of electrical supplies was made by the project developer CISA to electrify the San Fernando community of 450 people.
Employment Short-term and permanent Employment of local permanent residents. Some 120 local residents had full-time employment during the project construction phase and 70 local people have been employed during the operation phase.
Capacity building Local communities in the Rio Intibuca basin can apply for rural electrification grants or loans from government and other sources.
Afforestation and reforestation of land in and around the project boundary A total of 25,000 seedlings a year covering 22 hectares will be planted between 2004 and 2012. Thus far, the number of seedlings planted has exceeded the target and is likely to continue to exceed it. This will reforest degraded watershed areas around the project site. The deforestation has had a profound impact on the life of the local communities, as it threatens their water supply.

Testimonial: Mrs. Esla Vasquez is a 38-year-old member of the community of Santa Anita who can now make a living by selling food to CISA’s employees. With the regular income she has from the food she provides to company workers, and with the money and time she will save when she has electricity in her house, Elsa can now dare to dream of growing her business:
“I consider that having electricity in our home will save us lots of money. Right now I spend 80 Lempiras a month buying candles and 360 Lempiras to buy firewood for cooking; also I will benefit because I could start a small business—a grocery store.”

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