Czech energy group Energo-Pro has passed the necessary tests and obtained a permit to start operating two new hydropower plants, 99.5-MW Karakurt and 280-MW Alpaslan 2, in Turkey. Both power plants were connected to the grid and commercial operation was started.
For both power plants, this is the launch of the first Francis turbine-generator units.
“We managed to meet all the conditions for obtaining a guaranteed dollar tariff which will apply for the first ten years of the power plant operation,” adds Pavel Váňa, executive director of the Energo-Pro Group.
This is the largest Czech investment in hydropower industry since November 1989, according to a press release.
The Karakurt hydropower plant and dam is located in the Aras river basin. The earthfill dam with an asphalt core is 137 m high and impounds a reservoir with an area of 14 km2. The powerhouse will contain three Francis turbines, with the other two units to be launched in November and December.
The Alpaslan 2 hydropower plant and dam is located on the Murat River. The earthfill dam with an asphalt core impounds a reservoir with an area of 55 km2. Energo-Pro began construction of the dam in September 2018 and completed it within two years. The powerhouse will contain four Francis turbines, with the remaining three to be launched in December and February.
Of the choice of an earthfill dam with an asphalt core for both projects, Váňa said: “It proved to be the most suitable for the local seismological conditions, and it was also the fastest variant to execute.”
Connection of the power plants to the grid this year was a condition for obtaining a discounted guaranteed purchase price of electricity from January 2021. The warranty consists of two parts; in the first 10 years of the power plant’s operation it will be $73 per MWh. This tariff will be increased in the first five years, as the Turkish government has set clear conditions for turbines or generators built in Turkey. As a result, Energo-Pro will sell electricity at $86 per MWh at Alpaslan 2 and $96 per MWh at Karakurt.
“If we take into account the estimated electricity production, in this case we could earn about $520 million in the first five years. Alpaslan 2 should produce 850 GWh and Karakurt 340 GWh per year. Of course, the advantage is also that we will have a fixed dollar tariff for 10 years; this provides investors in renewable sources with greater security and coverage of currency risk, and it also allows them to finance these long-term infrastructure green energy projects,” confirms Váňa.
The total amount of investment in the two new hydropower plants with dams exceeds US$800 million.
After connecting the two new Turkish power plants, Energo-Pro will be operating a total of 38 hydropower plants in four countries.