Keywords: small hydro power, SHP, social sustainability, social innovations, India, challenges, opportunities, sustainable development
Towards realising social sustainability in the small hydropower sector in India: opportunities for social innovations
This paper investigates the SHP sector in India and aims at finding out its contribution towards realising social sustainability and if there are any opportunities for generating social innovations. Various stakeholders connected to the SHP industry were interviewed in four states of India to explore the existing situation of this industry. The data was acquired through 28 individual in–depth interviews, group discussions and direct observation of one SHP plant. The results of this study indicate that social sustainability is being realised to a certain extent in the SHP sector. However, efforts have to be undertaken in order to call this sector completely 'socially sustainable'. In addition, both benefits and challenges are highlighted and recommendations towards a socially sustainable SHP sector are provided. Further, this research also studies the challenges as opportunities for social innovations.