Dams & Civil Structures

California DWR authorized to proceed with plan to repair Oroville Dam spillways

The California Department of Water Resources in the U.S. received authorization in July – from the California Division of Safety of Dams and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – to proceed with its final 2017 construction plan for the Lake Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery Project.

The first phase of reconstruction at California’s Oroville Dam must be completed by Nov. 1 in anticipation of annual influxes into the Feather River.
The first phase of reconstruction at California’s Oroville Dam must be completed by Nov. 1 in anticipation of annual influxes into the Feather River.

The first phase of construction will be completed by Nov. 1, 2017, DWR says, with the objective of ensuring the main spillway can safely pass Feather River watershed flows this year. This phase involves:

  • Removing and reconstructing 2,270 feet of the main spillway;
  • Repairing the upper 730-foot-long portion of the main spillway that connects to the radial gates; and
  • Constructing an underground cutoff wall below to emergency spillway to prevent uphill erosion if this spillway is used again.

The remaining construction, which also requires federal and state approval, will be completed in 2018 and includes demolishing and reconstructing the uppermost 730-foot-long portion of the main spillway, adding structural concrete to the entire main spillway, resurfacing and hydro blasting the energy dissipaters at the base of the spillway, and construction of a roller-compacted-concrete buttress and splashpad on the emergency spillway.

For more information, see here.

Boone Dam seepage repair costs climb

Repairs to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Boone Dam have ballooned by at least 50% since work began in 2015, according to statements made by TVA president Bill Johnson during an August earnings call.

The project, intended to address seepage at the structure, began in December 2015, at which point the federally-owned corporation estimated it would cost between $200 million and $300 million, and require between five and seven years to complete.

Now, however, TVA projects a final price tag closer to $450 million and at least five more years of work for completion.

Located on the South Fork Holston River on the border between Tennessee’s Sullivan and Washington counties in the U.S., Boone Dam is a 160-foot-high, 1,532-foot-long structure that was completed in 1952.

TVA discovered seepage under the embankment in October 2014 in the form of a sinkhole at the base of the structure, eventually revealing a complex series of underground geological pathways allowing water from both upstream and downstream sources to cause internal erosion.

Small Hydro

USTDA providing support for Kenyan small hydropower studies

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has announced its support for Saigrene Energy Kenya Ltd., which will help the developer explore the potential for run-of-river hydro projects at five sites in Kenya.

USTDA’s support comes in the form of a grant of unspecified value, which will allow for consulting group Knight Piesold to perform feasibility studies for the five plants. The objective is twofold: While the plants would add a cumulative capacity of 17 MW to the African country’s grid, their development also opens the door for U.S. exports.

“USTDA is pleased to support this important study that will provide opportunities for U.S. industry to supply products and services, while advancing Kenya’s power goals,” said Lida Fitts, USTDA regional director for sub-Saharan Africa.

Saigrene Energy said it hopes the initiative will also lead to technical training and job creation in Kenya.

Marine Hydrokinetics

Australia continues tidal energy research with $2.49 million in funding

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $2.49 million in funding to attract future investment via a three-year project that will explore the tidal energy potential in Australia.

ARENA said the funding will further a $5.85 million project, “Tidal Energy in Australia: Assessing Resource and Feasibility in Australia’s Future Energy Mix,” being led by the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania, in partnership with CSIRO, the University of Queensland and industry partners.

The project will:

  • Create an online atlas mapping tidal energy nationwide to the nearest 500 m
  • Involve a full feasibility study of two high-potential sites and modeling existing tidal energy devices at these sites
  • Address a knowledge gap and provide information tidal energy developers need to deploy their technology in the most energetic sites.

Business and Finance

Jacobs Engineering to acquire CH2M

Global firm Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement under which it will acquire all outstanding shares of international consultant CH2M. The cash and stock deal has an enterprise value of about $3.27 billion, including $416 million of CH2M net debt, creating what Jacobs Engineering is calling a “$15 billion global solutions provider.”

Dallas-based Jacobs expects to finance the $2.4 billion transaction through cash on hand, its existing revolving credit facility and $1.2 billion from a new three-year term debt arranged by BNP Paribas and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Jacobs said it expects to have about $900 million in remaining liquidity after the deal is closed.

The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of Jacobs’ 2018 fiscal year but must first receive regulatory and CH2M stockholder approval.

New Development

Officials break ground on Angola’s 2,170-MW Caculo Cabaca plant

Work on Angola’s 2,170-MW Caculo Cabaca plant has begun, following the ceremonial laying of the project’s first stone by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in early August.

The US$4.5 billion facility is being built by the China Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd. and continues Chinese investment into the African country’s economy. Angolan infrastruture projects have benefitted from nearly $50 billion in total Chinese investments, according to the Chinese embassy.

Work on Caculo Cabaca is scheduled to take 80 months, and CGGC expects to hire as many as 10,000 workers. CGGC will also operate and maintain the plant for a four-year period after its completion, as well as provide training for Angolan technical personnel.

Regulation and Policy

Senate restores quorum at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

A quorum has been restored to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, following the unanimous confirmation of Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson by the U.S. Senate. Four of FERC’s five commissioner seats had been vacant since July, leaving the agency unable to move forward on substantive orders, initiatives and regulations.

Chatterjee most recently served as energy policy advisor to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, while Powelson is a commissioner for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and is president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Most read HydroWorld news articles from July 2017

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Pakistan signs deal to construct US$698.3 million Sharmai project

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