San Martin

Managua, Nicaragua
Invested through
  • Triodos Groenfonds
  • Triodos Multi Impact Fund
Asset ClassesPrivate debt
Impact strategyEnergy and Climate
Tonnes of CO₂ emissions avoided20,648
Capacity (in MW)6
Number of households provided with clean electricity14,404
Amount of clean electricity produced (in MWh)29,000
Aligned with SDGs

San Martin in Nicaragua is a so-called run-of-the-river plant and is a typical small-scale 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 three kilometres further downstream (and 82 meters lower), where it passes through the turbines and back into the river bed.

The energy it produces is a direct substitution for imported heavy fuel which is utilised in outdated plants; the project is the equivalent of 2,000 tons of oil-equivalent per annum. The project also increases the reliability of energy supply by adding decentralised generation capacity to the system, facilitating distribution expansion in the poor and remote area where the project is located.

Apart from all the feasibility studies, the most important part of the preparations was securing support from the local community. For the local community, the biggest impact is the employment that construction of the plant and later on its maintenance brings. During construction and operations, more than 80% of the staff was local. In addition to this, the project is involved with local schools, giving lectures about the importance of environmental protection.