Regulation & Policy
Himachal Pradesh new approach to hydro could move 5,100 MW of capacity forward
The State Cabinet of Himachal Pradesh, India, recently approved amendments to the state’s hydropower policy intended to ensure about 737 stalled projects with a capacity of about 5,100 MW can move forward.
During a May 8 meeting, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur approved amendments to “rationalize the rates of royalty to be applicable for allotment of new projects in view of the provisions of national hydro power policy and also keeping in view the provisions of bordering states of Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir.”
In the case of the already allotted projects, these amendments defer 12% free power for the first 12 years of operation. Power from projects with capacity up to 10 MW will be mandatorily purchased by HPSEBL. And the generic tariff applicable to projects with capacity up to 25 MW will be from the date of commissioning, not the date of the implementation agreement. Finally, wheeling/open access charges will not be levied for hydropower plants up to 25 MW, allowing the developers to sell power at competitive rates outside of Himachal Pradesh.
The government says these steps also make it possible to allot 300 projects with a capacity of 2,200 MW “for which there were no takers despite repeated advertisements under the old policy.” The government anticipates all of these steps will catalyze private investment in the hydropower sector by about INR700 billion (US$10.38 billion) over the next 10 years.
Business & Finance
Innergex announces acquisition of five hydro plants in Canada, Chile
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. recently acquired interests in three hydro plants in British Columbia, Canada, and two in Chile.
In Canada, Innergex acquired Ledcor Power Group Ltd.’s 33.3% interest in Creek Power Inc., which indirectly owns the 25.3-MW Boulder Creek, 7.5-MW Fitzsimmons Creek and 81.4-MW Upper Lillooet River hydro projects, as well as a portfolio of prospective projects. As Innergex already owned the remaining 66.7% share of Creek Power, this makes the company the sole owner of the three above-mentioned hydropower facilities.
The Chile transaction involves Innergex acquiring, in partnership with Chilean company Energia Llaima, the 140-MW Duqueco hydro project, which includes two hydro facilities.
The 85-MW Peuchen and 55-MW Mampil plants on the Duqueco River were commissioned in 2001. Peuchen has a reservoir with four-hour regulation at full capacity and up to 12-hour regulation at partial capacity. The aggregated annual power generation is expected to reach more than 350,000 MW, and the electricity produced is sold under power purchase agreements at fixed prices until 2020 and on the spot market.
The acquisition is subject to certain regulatory approvals in Chile and to reaching a final partnership agreement between the parties. In addition, Innergex has signed an exclusivity agreement with Energía Llaima for a joint venture partnership to acquire a 50% stake in the company, according to a press release. Upon signing a final partnership agreement, Innergex would own 50% of Energía Llaima for a total commitment of US$110 million to be invested in the next three years. In addition to the investment in the Duqueco project, Innergex will invest an additional $10 million in Energia Llaima to contribute to its working capital.
Innergex is based in Quebec, Canada, and has interests in 64 generating facilities with total gross installed capacity of 2,886 MW, including 34 hydroelectric facilities.
Seabased wave energy technology to be installed in Canary Islands
Seabased of Sweden announces it is teaming with Infocom Connect to provide wave energy for commercial projects in the Canary island, beginning with a 5-MW pilot installation to provide electricity for a desalination plant.
The Canary Islands off the coast of Spain rely heavily on diesel to fuel homes and businesses, Seabased says. One of the heaviest consumers of power is desalination plants, needed because the islands have limited fresh water. SBH Hotels and Resorts developed this plan in a move to replace fossil fuels such as diesel with renewable energy.
“I am deeply invested in the future of the Canary Islands and am excited about the potential of wave energy in this area,” said Oscar Sanchez, executive manager of SBH Hotels and Resorts. “We have slightly less than 3,000 square miles of land mass and it makes perfect sense to get our power from the waves. I see enormous potential of using wave energy not just for specific projects, like desalination, but ultimately to provide power for hotels and the grid itself, which should be less expensive than fossil fuels.” Sanchez’ family also owns a desalination plant with a capacity of 5,000 cubic meters.
Infocom Connect is a telecommunications company that operates largely in the Middle East, Africa, and India and is moving into the renewable energy industry, Seabased says.
The technology consists of buoys that transmit the energy through a steel line to generators on the seabed and from there through cables to a switchgear. Seabased says this installation could expand to address multiple energy needs, such as automobile recharging stations or supplying electricity to the grid.
Isagen being investigated after fish deaths at 820-MW Sogamoso
Autoridad Nacional de Licensias Ambientales (Anla) asked Isagen, in late April, to provide a full report of its operational activities at the 820-MW Sogamoso hydro facility after “scores” of dead fish were discovered just downstream.
BNamericas reports the fish were encountered in the Playa-Flor sector, which is within the first 4 km downstream from the powerhouse.
Sogamoso, on the Sogamoso River in the northern Santander department of Colombia, became fully operational in December 2014.
Isagen operates seven power plants with total installed capacity of 3,032 MW, 2,732 MW from hydroelectric power. The company purchased rights to develop Sogamoso from Electrificadora de Santander S.A. in 2007. The facility was built by Salini Impregilo.
Sogamoso consists of a dam 190 m high and an underground machine room holding “the country’s three largest generators.” It has average annual generation of 5,056 GWh.
Bracebridge Generation inaugurates expanded Cascade Falls hydro plant
Canadian utility Bracebridge Generation Ltd. has completed a 1.9-MW expansion of its Cascade Falls Generation Station, upping the small hydropower plant’s total output capacity to 3.1 MW.
The project is located on the Seguin River in Parry Sound, Ontario, and has been operating since 1919. Plans to upgrade the facility have been in planning since 2003, before then-owner Parry Sound PowerGen merged into Bracebridge Generation in 2014.
The US$13.3 million expansion was officially inaugurated during a ceremony May 11 that included officials from the local government, the Wasauksing First Nation, industry partners, community members and the Ontario Waterpower Association.
“This project is an excellent example of getting more out of what we have,” said OWA President Paul Norris. “With the need for more and more reliable electricity less than a decade away, the province should be encouraging ‘Made in Ontario’ waterpower investment now.”
The look of the upgraded plant was important for Bracebridge Generation, which relied on an aesthetic advisory committee of Parry Sound residents to guide the design process.
Bracebridge Generation said it overcame several obstacles in completing the project, including dewatering, town infrastructure and maintaining progress through Ontario’s winter conditions.
Providing services for the expansion were Norcan Hydraulic Turbine Inc., Eaton Electrical Engineering Services & Systems, Maple Reinders Constructors and WSP Canada Inc.
Dams & Civil Structures
EPM working on recovery at Ituango Dam after two tunnel collapses
Two falls of rock and soil occurred in late April at Ituango Dam and the associated 2.4-GW hydroelectric facility in Colombia, causing a partial obstruction of a tunnel.
Dam owner Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) says the partial obstructions of the tunnel that occurred on April 28 and April 30 were “caused by a geological condition that caused the rock and soil to collapse inside the tunnel.”
EPM reported its work was focused on four fronts:
• Remove the plugs from the other project tunnels so water can run through them
• Raise the level of the dam to force water to flow through the dump [translation not clear, perhaps dump refers to the spillway] if it reaches that level
• Keep up communication with communities downstream and upstream of the project
• Continue environmental management efforts to protect wildlife
Flow in the Cauca River downstream has slowly increased as the tunnel that was blocked by the collapse begins to release more water.
Development approval granted for 230-MW Goat Hill pumped hydro
Delta Electricity has received development approval from the South Australian government for the 230-MW Goat Hill pumped hydro project.
Delta has the development rights for the project, with Altura Group as the project developer.
Goat Hill will be located at Lincoln Gap near Port Augusta in the Spencer Gulf.
Work is under way for detailed plant design and construction contracting, Delta says. In fact, Altura Group has already engaged SNC Lavalin, WBHO and SRE and is using GE Technology.
The South Australian government has committed $3.5 million to facilitate final project development.
Development phase activities are expected to cost $7 million, and the total project price tag is anticipated at about $305.8 million. Goat Hill is expected to create about 200 jobs during construction.
Altura Group says . The project is moving through development phases to further define costs and support an investment decision in the second half of 2018. The project could be operational by late 2020.