World News

Marine Hydrokinetics

EU funds US$4.4 million for full-scale tidal energy testing and demonstration projects

In mid-June, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) announced the EU has awarded more than US$4.4 million to support full-scale tidal energy testing and demonstration projects in Orkney, Scotland.

The award was granted under the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) scheme, which provides funding for bottom-up proposals for close-to-market innovation activities in any area of technology or application. FTI is run by the EU’s research and innovation program, Horizon 2020. This iteration of FTI funding is split between Tocardo and Magallanes.


This project uses Tocardo’s DD1000 device: A rotor that includes two uni- or bi-directional, fixed pitch blades on a gearless, variable speed, fixed pitch turbine with a capacity of 87 kW to 200 kW. Project partners are EMEC, Leask Marine and the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (which is under the joint supervision of France’s ministries for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning).

Ocean 2G

Ocean 2G is based on a trimaran that incorporates a submerged rotor fitted to a hydro turbine-generator and a platform that is 42 m long by 25 m wide and weighs 350 metric tons, anchored to the sea bottom by mooring lines. The rotor has two blades that are 19 m in diameter, and the unit has a capacity of 2 MW. Ocean 2G is being led by Magallanes and brings together EMEC, Leask Marine and ABB Power & Technology Group to develop the second generation of this technology.

Log onto, search for: Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Testing Center, and click on the embedded video LINK to view video about recent CHTTC turbine research activities.

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Pumped Storage

First unit online at 1,332 MW Ingula pumped-storage project in South Africa

Unit 4, the first of four at the 1,332 MW Ingula pumped-storage project owned by South African utility Eskom, began commercial operations, according to a June announcement.

Ingula is located in the Little Drakensberg range and straddles the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Construction of the US$3.5 billion facility began in 2006 and, according to Eskom, all four of Ingula’s 333 MW reversible Francis pump-turbines are scheduled for commercial operation in 2017.

Unit 4 was synchronized to the national grid in March and has been undergoing optimization while supporting the national grid, according to Eskom. Optimization is a process that involves testing to ensure the unit performs per design specifications.

The scheme utilizes the upper Bedford Dam and reservoir; the lower Bramhoek Dam and reservoir; and a powerhouse located below ground about 460 m lower than and 2 km away from the upper reservoir.

According to Eskom, when the project is fully-commissioned, it will be able to respond to demand increases on the national grid within 2.5 minutes.

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Business & Finance

Brazilian court suspends financing for Nicaragua’s 253 MW Tumarin plant

Brazilian funding for the 253 MW Tumarin plant in Nicaragua has been suspended while federal authorities continue investigating allegations of graft, according to state news service Agencia Brasil.

The decision, made by Brazilian federal audit court Tribunal de Contas da Uniao in June, was due to “irregularities” concerning US$100 million committed by the Brazilian government for the project.

Brazil’s federal police are continuing their “Lava Jato” corruption probe, which comes as the South American company looks to recover from growing economic and political crisis.

Named in the investigation are construction firm Queiroz Galvao and state-owned utility Eletrobras – each of which was given 15 days to respond to allegations made in the report. The two Brazilian companies make up the consortium developing the project, Centrales Hidroelectricas de Nicaragua (CHN), alongside Nicaraguan state-owned power generator Enel.

Tumarin is reported to cost more than $1 billion, with financing coming from Eletrobras under a 2008 build-operate-transfer contract that will last up to 30 years. The project is located on the Rio Grande de Matagalpa.

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Small Hydro

Bank finances 3 MW Tranquil in Chile

On June 6, Austria-based RP Global announced it had secured financing from Chile’s Banco BICE to continue constructing RP Global’s first hydro scheme in Chile, 3 MW Tranquil.

Total cost for the run-of-river project is not immediately known, but Banco BICE is providing US$8.9 million to complete the plant, which has been under construction since 2015.

The facility’s powerhouse will contain one Pelton turbine and is expected to be commissioned in August 2016, according to RP Global.

Tranquil, on the Tranquil River in the Los Rios region in southern Chile, fits with the government’s plan to develop new small hydro plants and RP Global’s goals within Chile. In February, Chile’s Ministerio de Energia stated its goal of adding 100 small hydro plants that each have a total installed capacity of less than 20 MW by 2018, which is the end of President Michelle Bachelet’s term in office.

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DRC awards US$660 million contract for 240 MW Busanga in Africa

The Democratic Republic of Congo announced June 8 that it has awarded a US$660 million contract to a Chinese consortium to build the 240 MW Busanga project.

Construction is expected to last five years, according to local estimates, and the facility will be located on the Lualaba River in the province of Katanga in the southern portion of DRC. The Busanga facility is a direct result of the Sicomines S.A. copper project, a joint venture between DRC-owned mining company Gecamines S.A., China Sinohydro and the China Railway Group Ltd.

Busanga is expected to provide 170 MW to the Sicomines project and fill growing power shortages in the country. According to the Chamber of Mines, erratic electricity supply, in addition to other factors, reduced copper output in the country. The shortage of electricity in DRC grew to 950 MW in 2015, an increase from 542 MW the previous year. Copper production dropped 3% to 995,805 tons in 2015 and output in the fourth quarter slumped 12% from the previous year.

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Dams and Civil Structures

Poyry, Temelsu to provide design services for Lower Kelekoy

Engineering consultancy Poyry and consortium partner Temelsu have been awarded a contract to provide detailed design services for the 500 MW Lower Kelekoy plant in Turkey.

The contract, offered by Kalehan Genc Enerji Uretim, includes the design for the project’s powerhouse and structural reviews for the roller-compacted-concrete dam, power intake and penstocks, piano-key weir, and diversion structures with two tunnels and bottom outlet.

“We are proud to be working on this landmark project,” said Ernst Zeller, regional director for Poyry’s Energy Business Group in Austria.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. Poyry said the work will be completed by the end of 2017.

Lower Kelekoy (also spelled Kalekoy) is part of a four-project cascade on the Murat River that includes 636 MW Upper Kelekoy, 560 MW Beyhan 1 and proposed Beyhan 2.

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