Small-scale hydroelectric projects are helping to transform lives in rural Laos. Villagers not only receive electricity from a renewable source, but are also encouraged to take ownership of the project, thanks to an innovative financing model designed to ensure the system is sustainable in the long term.
Hydroelectric projects are popular in developing countries. They are clean, renewable sources of energy. But building dams also means flooding valleys and destroying the homes and livelihoods of local people. In Indonesia, a pioneering program is turning this notion on its head, transforming new lakes into lucrative sources of income, and allowing displaced former farmers to become successful fishermen.
One mile long and 600 feet high, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is an enormous feat of engineering, with huge controversies to match. Completed in 2008, the dam created a vast reservoir extending 370 miles. It provides drinking water and electricity, but it has also displaced some two million people and caused widespread flooding, destroying rural villages and cultural treasures. In this film, we meet some of the people whose lives have been affected.