Who they are, what they do, and how they interact: understanding stakeholders in Small Hydropower Plants

Abstract The use of energy and the different strategies of diffusion and implementation of new energy technologies involve multiple stakeholders who have distinct roles, interests, values, and beliefs. In this context, this study seeks to identify and understand how stakeholders involved in Small Hydropower Plants act and which roles they play based on an qualitative research. Primary data were collected from semi-structured interviews applied to nine representatives of different groups of stakeholders. Secondary data were collected through documentary research, observing the sector legislation, reports, edicts, and instructions available on the websites of government entities and regulatory agencies. Data on stakeholders were assessed by content analysis in three categories: a) who they are; b) what they do; and c) how they interact during the stages of implementation of a small hydropower plant. Seven stakeholder groups and nineteen members that represent them were identified. The following groups of stakeholders were identified: (1) Institutional Agents; (2) Non-governmental organizations; (3) Renewable energy investors and producers; (4) Investment banks; (5) Suppliers of the sector; (6) Associations for renewable energy development; and (7) Local stakeholders. In addition, there is a description of the five stages of implementation of renewable energy projects and how those groups interact in each of them. The results show a lack of collaboration and dialogue between the different stakeholders when deciding about resource management, as well as lack of information leading to loss of confidence of local stakeholders in the projects before their installation and throughout their life cycle. As a contribution, this study points out that, once the stages of implementation and the actors involved have been identified, new forms of communication can be proposed to increase information transparency, as well as workflow models that attempt to collaborate and dialogue with the different stakeholders.