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Joint Investment Brings Electricity to Rural Communities in Nicaragua

13 July 2012: Nicaragua has inaugurated a small hydropower plant to bring electricity to 3,000 people in 533 households in eight rural communities. The plant was financed and built with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Energy and Environment Partnership for Central America (EEP) and others.

The 300 kilowatt (kW) plant was inaugurated on 5 July 2012, in Waslala, Nicaragua, by the town mayor, the Secretary-General of Nicaragua's Energy and Mines Ministry (MEM), the EEP Regional Coordinator, Switzerland's Ambassador to Central America and the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for Nicaragua.

To bring electricity to small rural communities in Nicaragua's North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), the US$2.6 million project involved: carrying out feasibility and design studies, as well as electromechanical and electrical works (including 31 miles of new electric grid connection); creating a local environmental protection organization; and developing a sustainable management system for the micro-watershed. The plant was funded as part of a UNDP project to build small hydroelectric plants for off-grid communities in Nicaragua launched in 2003 and funded by UNDP, GEF, and the Swiss and Norwegian Governments. The project intends to electrify rural communities and combat poverty while contributing to Nicaragua's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The investment particular to the Waslala plant came from the GEF, UNDP, the World Bank, the Swiss Development Cooperation (COSUDE) and EEP. The new plant will serve the rural RAAN communities of Kubalí, La Limonera, La Esperanza, Zinica, Kusulí, El Guabo, Las Lajas and Las Jaguas.

The EEP was launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to promote renewable energy in Central American countries with a view to both promoting sustainable development and climate change mitigation. The Partnership is supported by the Governments of Austria and Finland as well as the EU, and is administered by the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD). [EEP Press Release] [UNDP Press Release (in Spanish)]