Global Headlines


Countries agree to study reservoir filling for Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will set up a scientific study group to consult on filling of the reservoir behind Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The team is expected to conclude the study within three months after its establishment, says Ethiopian News Agency.

This was the result of the 2nd Tripartite High Level Ministerial Meeting of Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that opened May 15 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Africanews reported that the three countries agreed to establish the Tripartite Infrastructure Fund to deal with issues relating to GERD, among others. And the leaders will meet every six months.

The US$6.4 billion GERD hydro project on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia is reportedly about two-thirds complete. However, Sudan and Egypt downstream are concerned that the rate at which Ethiopia proposes to fill the reservoir might cause water shortages.


Myanmar, IFC release draft assessment calling for sustainable development

The International Finance Corporation and government of Myanmar have released a draft strategic environmental assessment intended to help guide sustainabile hydroelectric growth.

In The report is the culmination of an 18-month process that drew input from the private sector, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and others, with coordination led by Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity & Energy, and Ministry of Natural Resources & Environmental Conservation.

Key amongst the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) findings is a recommendation to preserve Myanmar’s main waterways — namely the Ayeyarwady, Thanlwin and Chindwin rivers — in favor of those that have what IFC called “less environmental, social and cultural risk.”


Decommissioning of tidal energy tripod offers lessons learned

Removal of a tripod foundation at the Fall of Warness tidal energy test site off Orkney, Scotland, will offer lessons for the ocean energy sector.

As part of this collaborative decommissioning project, a forensic analysis will be conducted of the tidal energy tripod, which has been at the site since 2009.

The European Marine Energy Centre says the operations will feed into a FORESEA-funded (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action) project called Forensic Decommissioning for Tidal Energy Converters, or FoDTEC.

The analysis will focus on understanding the end-of-life condition of the tripod and ascertain the long-term effect of deploying components and systems in the sea, according to a press release. Forensic examination techniques will focus on biofouling and metallurgic analysis, and a detailed photographic record of the decommissioning activity will be collated for future reference.

Latin America

Groups file suit against Peru’s 600-MW Chadin 2 project

A lawsuit has been filed by environmental watchdog EarthRights International and Instituto de Defensa Legal on behalf of communities that could be impacted by the construction of Peru’s Chadin 2 plant.

The 600-MW hydropower project, to be located on the Maranon River, would create a reservoir with an area of around 32.5 km2, displacing residents of Tagen, Corgetana, Tupen, Mendan and Rambran, amongst others.

An environmental impact assessment was approved by Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines in February 2014, but EarthRights and its partners want that assessment ruled invalid via a constitutional request for protection due to the impact Chadin 2 might have on the area’s ecosystem.

Statements from the group mention the assessment’s disregard for what impacts Chadin 2’s 175-m-high by 370-m-long dam might have on sediment flows in the Maranon River, which are, according to the Washington, D.C.-based group, essential for the region’s agriculture.

North America

Duke Energy to sell five small plants to Northbrook Energy

Duke Energy Carolinas will sell five small hydroelectric plants in the Western Carolinas region to Northbrook Energy through a competitive bidding process.

The facilities, which have a combined 18.7-megawatt generation capacity, are Bryson, Franklin and Mission hydro stations in the Nantahala area, and Tuxedo and Gaston Shoals hydro stations in the Green/Broad River Basin.

DEC will purchase all of the energy generated by these facilities for five years through power purchase agreements with Northbrook Energy.

Based on the upkeep investments needed over time, DEC determined it was in the best interest of customers to sell the facilities.

The completion of the transaction is subject to approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to transfer the hydroelectric licenses to Northbrook Energy, as well as other state regulatory approvals.

Northbrook Energy will be required to comply with all FERC license requirements as well as existing agreements entered into by DEC, which Northbrook will assume.

Closing is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2019.

Editor’s Note: This department features the biggest news item from each world region. Up-to-the-minute news on the global hydro market is available on the World Regions page at

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Global Headlines


Hydro Project Activity: US$88 million awarded to rehabilitate 126-MW Qairokkum in Tajikistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Green Climate Fund are providing a US$88 million financing package to complete rehabilitation of the 126-MW Qairokkum (also called Kayrakkum or Kairakkum) hydro plant.

The rehab will support Tajikistan improving its electricity supply, EBRD says. Work to be performed includes rehab of the concrete dam works and installation of hydraulic steel components, turbines and electromechanical equipment for the four turbine-generator units.

The package consists of a US$38 million loan from EBRD and a US$27 million loan and US$23 million grant from GCF, a financial mechanism under the UNFCCC that helps fund climate finance investment in low-emission, climate-resilient development in developing countries.

Qairokkum is owned by state-owned utility Barki Tojik. The plant, on the Syr Darya River, was commissioned in 1959. This rehab will increase its installed capacity to 174 MW, from 126 MW.


Hydro Project Activity: Motor-generator rehab contract awarded for 1,290-MW Vianden pumped storage

Voith has been awarded a contract to modernize a motor-generator at the 1,290-MW Vianden pumped-storage plant on the border between Germany and Luxembourg.

Voith’s work includes the design, calculation, construction, delivery and assembly of a new motor-generator.

The original motor-generator was installed in 1976. It will be replaced by a new synchronous motor-generator fitted with a starting frequency converter that will increase potential capacity of the unit by about 7%, according to a press release. New capacity of the unit will be 217 MW. In addition, the new motor-generator will be able to respond faster to changes in the load requirements from the power grid. Work on the machine is scheduled to be complete by 2021.

Vianden is owned by Societe Electrique de l’Our S.A. and is marketed and operated by RWE Generation. Vianden contains 11 generating sets and began operating in 1964. It is used as a flexible electricity storage system and to regulate the grid as part of the transition process to renewable energies, Voith says.


Hydro Project Activity: Seabased signs deal to install 100-MW wave energy park in Ghana

Ghanaian renewables developer TC’s Energy has signed a contract with Sweden’s Seabased for the design, manufacture and installation of a 100-MW wave energy project off the coast of Ada Foah.

The deal will contribute toward the TC Energy’s 1,000-MW power purchase agreement with the Electric Co. of Ghana Ltd.

“This is a very exciting day for Seabased, and one both companies have been preparing for diligently for years,” Sebased Chief Executive Officer Oivind Magnussen said.

Seabased’s wave energy converters rely on the kinetic motion of the ocean to move buoys moored to linear generators on the sea floor, thus generating electricity.

Seabased was founded in 2001 and has since generated energy using its devices at the Sotenas Wave Energy Plant off Sweden’s west coast.

Latin America

Brazil’s Cemig delays sale of Belo Monte shares

Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig) will delay the sale of its shares in the 11.2-GW Belo Monte plant until next year, per a plan outlined by the Brazilian power group.

Cemig announced last June that it would divest about US$2.7 billion in assets in an effort to cut its debt, with the company’s shares in the 27-MW Cachoeirao, 20-MW Pipoca and 25-MW Paracambi small hydro plants — alongside a stake in consortium Norte Energia, which operates Belo Monte — on the block.

Cemig, owned by Brazilian state Minas Gerais, would make about $420 million from selling its 12% share of Norte Energia.

Norte Energia’s other stakeholders are Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais SA, Light SA, Vale SA, Siderurgica Norte Brasil SA, J. Malucelli Energia SA and pension funds Petros Fundacao Petrobras and Funcef Fundacao. The group holds a 50.2% interest in Belo Monte, but announced it was looking to sell in February 2017.

North America

Hydro Project Activity: Snohomish County PUD cancels plans to develop 30-MW Sunset Falls project

The Snohomish County Public Utility District in the U.S. state of Washington has cancelled its plans to build the 30-MW Sunset Falls project on the Skykomish River, saying that over the next 10 years it will not need the additional energy the project will provide.

Snohomish County PUD’s board of commissioners directed the staff not to pursue a final federal license for this project, officially known as the Sunset Fish Passage and Energy Project, after a review of its integrated resource plan (IRP). This plan has forecasted that on an annual basis, over the next 10 years, due to expected energy conservation, the Sunset hydro project power will not be needed.

“Our considerable success with energy conservation … has helped minimize the need for new energy resources,” said PUD Commission President Kathy Vaughn. She says Snohomish PUD “could seek out additional energy resources in the mid-2020s time period” … “if higher growth occurs over the longer term, 10 years or beyond.”

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