Small Hydro

Greenko acquires 14 MW Sumez project in Himachal Pradesh

Indian renewable energy company Greenko has acquired the 14 MW Sumez hydropower plant, moving the company closer to its target of 1,000 MW of hydroelectric capacity by 2015.

Greenko aid the Sumez project has a total value of US$24 million, including normal project debt, although the company did not disclose details of the transaction.

“Our hydro capacity has grown by 58% this financial year, and Sumez now gives us access to the merchant power market, where we expect to generate attractive returns for our shareholders,” said Anil Chalamalasetty, Greenko’s chief executive officer.

Sumez was completed in early 2012 and was registered by the Rango Raju Warehousing Private Limited under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Greenko said its output is currently contracted to the state’s electricity board.

HMV Ingenieros commissions 20.4 MW Barroso plant

Colombian power and engineering company HMV Ingenieros completed work in November, 2012, on its 20.4 MW Barroso project.

The US$45 million hydroelectric plant was one of several being developed by HMV Ingenieros, which has already completed the 9.8 MW Guanaquitas and 9.5 MW Caruquia.

The Barroso hydropower project is located on Colombia’s Barroso River in Antigua Department.

Austria utility to expand 9.58 MW Opponitz

Vienna utility Wien Energie GmbH is moving forward on an expansion of its 9.58 MW Opponitz hydroelectric project on Austria’s Ybbs River.

Wien Energie plans €30 million (US$38.1 million in economic and environmental improvements to the 88 year-old hydroelectric project. Work is to include a fish ladder and a new weir at Gostling that will increase the amount of water available to be used by the Opponitz hydro plant. An additional turbine-generator is to be added to the project, with installed capacity to increase to 12.5 MW.

The utility has been seeking a company to supply, install and commission hydraulic steel structures, earthworks and construction for the expansion, as well as to supply, install, and commission a residual water turbine-generator unit at the Gostling weir.

Modernizations under way at France’s 5 MW Pont Baldy plant

Energie Developpement Services du Brianconnais (EDSB) is modernizing its 5 MW Pont Baldy hydroelectric plant in Briancon, France.

Alstom is working on the rehabilitation, replacing the automatic voltage regulator with a digital control system known as “SMARTGEN.” This regulator can produce electricity at constant voltage, allowing the Pont Baldy facility to remain operational and free of downtime caused by voltage fluctuations.

Alstom said the system is “perfectly suited to the specific requirements of owners of small hydro power stations” and that when paired with maintenance diagnostic software, it can “help operators to independently intervene and retain control of equipment maintenance.”

Pont Baldy was commissioned in 1966 with a 5 MW horizontal Francis turbine supplied by Alstom that produces 18 GWh of electricity annually.

Alstom installed a new speed regulator at Pont Baldy in 2006 but said the installation of the SMARTGEN system is the first step in a new modernization project.

EDSB also operates the Roche Percee and Le Randon hydropower plants, which supply power to more than 11,000 consumers in Briancon and Saint Martin de Queyrieres.

Officials investigate incidents at two Vietnamese small hydro plants

Officials are working to determine what caused a dam to collapse at the 8 MW Dak Rong 3 hydroelectric plant in Vietnam and are also investigating the dam that impounds water for the 7.5 MW Dak Mek plant after the structure sustained significant damage.

The 25 meter-long by 6 meter-high Dak Rong Dam, recently completed by Truong Son Hydropower JSC, suffered a 20 meter-long breach in mid-October 2012 that caused more than US$1 million in damage to the structure and surrounding fields.

Truong Son said the failure was caused while it was experimenting with water storage and that torrential rains caused by Typhoon Gaemi overwhelmed the dam.

A dump truck caused considerable damage when it crashed into Dak Mek Dam in Vietnam, causing portions to collapse and release water downstream.
A dump truck caused considerable damage when it crashed into Dak Mek Dam in Vietnam, causing portions to collapse and release water downstream.

However, officials from local governing group Quang Tri Province People’s Committee Secretariat say evidence of substandard construction work has been found in the debris. Much of the remaining work includes weak concrete that can be dislodged by hand, substandard rebar, and construction techniques that could have led to the dam’s collapse, they say.

The group also says Truong Son Dam was storing water without making it known to the public, potentially endangering life and property in the areas downstream.

Mai Van Hue, chairman of Truong Son’s board of directors, said the company is repairing the damaged portion of the dam but repairs could take several months because it is Vietnam’s rainy season.

At Dak Mek 3, Vietnamese sources report a 60 ton dump truck hit the 60 meter-long, 20 meter-tall cement dam in late November, killing the driver and causing large portions of the dam to collapse into Dak Mek Stream.

The Hong Phat Dak Mek Hydropower Joint Stock Company, which owns the project, said the dam was being built “in accordance with quality standards and the approved design.”

Officials with Vietnam’s Dak Lak Province have begun an investigation, however, noting that the damage seemed too significant not to have been caused in some part by construction or design flaws.

Reports of the cause of the breach vary. According to one source, an inspection team reported that the project owner and investor, Hong Phat Dak Mek, did not follow design plans and used sand, earth, and stone instead of concrete. The project owner reportedly violated a governmental regulation when it failed to report the breach within 24 hours.

As a result, the province’s People’s Committee requested that construction be suspended and that the investor provide updated design and construction documentation to the Department of Construction. Hong Phat Dak Mek was also made responsible for investigating mitigation measures to deal with the aftermath of the breach in Dak Mek stream.

Work on the US$10 million project had been ongoing since March 2009 and was about 80% complete.

Delayed Windsor Castle hydro project hits another snag

Testing of new hydroelectric equipment at England’s Windsor Castle has once again been delayed by high water levels in the River Thames.

Work on the US$2.7 million scheme slowed in August 2012 due to complications associated with the project’s 11 kV transmission line.

The project is being developed by Southeast Power Engineering Limited and includes two Archimedes Screw turbines. Energy produced by the identical 12-meter by 4-meter units will be used to power Windsor Castle, with surplus electricity fed into England’s national grid.

Officials say testing of the project will begin as soon as water levels drop, with the turbines being operational in three months.

IIC approves loan for small hydro plant on Peru’s Pachacayo River

The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) approved a loan of US$7.2 million to Empresa de Generacion Electrica Canchayllo S.A.C (EGECSAC) to develop, build, and operate a 5.26 MW hydropower plant on the Pachacayo River in Peru.

The US$11 million hydroelectric project will operate under a concession agreement with the Peruvian government that will allow EGECSAC to sell the energy generated at a fixed price for 20 years.

“We are very grateful to have received IIC financing for this first renewable energy project,” said Jose Garcia Herz, general manager of EGECSAC’s majority shareholder, Cascade Hydro Power. “We have three projects of this type scheduled to begin construction in late 2013. With them, we hope to become Peru’s leading renewable energy company.”

IIC said energy demands in the South American country could increase by as much as 65% over the next six years. That increase equates to an additional 3,300 to 5,300 MW of power by 2018, according to IIC.

Lender plans feasibility study of Rwanda’s 3 MW Nyundo

International lender Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) plans to perform a feasibility study of the 3 MW Nyundo project in Gakenke District of Rwanda’s Northern Province.

GVEP is assisting the World Bank and Rwanda’s Energy Water and Sanitation Authority in promoting private development of small hydropower and off-grid lighting. The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. recruited technical and legal consultants to help promote development of micro-hydropower projects by private developers in Rwanda.

Rwanda has developed about 35 MW of small hydropower but nonetheless faces a power supply shortage. Making hydro development a priority, the government seeks international consultants to advise on development of identified sites.

Work to be performed under the deal will include review of existing information, analysis of project alternatives and power capacity, and preparation of a detailed technical description and project design.

Otra Kraft awards contract for turbines, electrical work at Skarg

Norwegian hydro operator Otra Kraft DA awarded a contract to Rainpower Small Hydro AS for electromechanical work at the 24 MW Skarg plant in Bykle, Norway.

The work includes the design, engineering, supply and installation of two 12 MW vertical Francis turbines, generators, control systems and electrical work.

The system is to be built for manual operation as well as automatic operation from a control center more than 30 km away.

The value of the contract was not specified.

French utility awards contract for Saint-Julien-Mont-Denis plant

Saem Sorea of France awarded a contract to Truchet Travaux Publics to supply and install a penstock for the 2.864 MW Saint-Julien-Mont-Denis project.

The work includes excavation, supply and installation of the penstock and accessories, concrete construction, and fill.

The project will be located on St. Julien Creek in the Rhone-Alpes region of southeastern France.

The value of the Truchet Travaux Publics contract was not specified in the award notice.

EU extends loan for new Guyana micro hydropower plant

A US$2.5 million loan from the European Union will help the Guyanese government construct a new 330 kW hydroelectric plant on the Chiung River.

The financing is being made under the 10th European Development Fund program, with Guyana responsible for covering the US$3.23 million project costs.

Power generated at the new hydropower station will primarily be used to power the proposed Kato Secondary School and other existing government buildings.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in October 2013 and will take about 18 months to finish.

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