Briefings


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.


Marine Hydrokinetics

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.


Environmental

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.


Small Hydro

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.

Earlier this year, EPM received a $100 million project-related corporate loan to develop Ituango from KfW IPEX-Bank.

This occurred shortly after the IDB Invest branch of the Inter-American Development bank agreed to provide a $1 billion loan to EPM for construction of Ituango.


Pumped Storage

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 Goat Hill is a closed loop inland pumped storage hydro project. 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.

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Briefings


New Development

Latest Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam meetings end without clear resolution

Days after officials seemed poised for a collaborative breakthrough, a trilateral summit between the foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia failed to resolve long-standing disputes over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The discussion took place in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, during the first week of April and initially seemed to proceed well enough for the African country’s Ministry of Water Resources, Irrigation and Electricity to say the three would “work as one country” to see the 6,000-MW hydropower project through to its completion.

However, speaking to reporters after the conclusion of a 16-hour meeting, Sudan Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said the parties “were not able to reach an agreement on a joint decision, and it’s a technical issue that we cannot discuss.”

The US$6.4 billion project, under construction on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, has been controversial throughout its decades-long development due in large part to fear from downstream Egypt. Egypt draws nearly all of its waters from the Nile River, which is fed almost entirely by the Blue Nile. The country has expressed concern that the rate at which Ethiopia wants to fill the reservoir behind GERD might cause shortages.

Still, Sudan’s state-run news agency reported the attendees considered the meetings to be “constructive,” with further plans for more talks soon.

Ethiopian Electric Power has been working to build GERD since 2011. GERD is to feature the largest roller-compacted-concrete volume dam in the world at 10.2 million m3. The reservoir it impounds will have a capacity of 70 km2. Two powerhouses will contain 16 Francis turbine-generator units, and total annual generation is expected to be 15 TWh.


Technology & Equipment

Corps awards contract for turbine modernization at McNary hydro project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $321.3 million contract to Alstom Renewable US LLC, a General Electric Company, to design, manufacture and install 14 turbines at the 980-MW McNary plant, located on the Columbia River near Umatilla, Ore.

The Corps said after the design is completed, the turbine components will be manufactured and then installed two units at a time over the course of seven to eight years. The contract is expected to be fully completed in about 14 years.

The award culminates three years of research, planning, design and acquisition to replace the existing turbine runners and associated ancillary equipment. The goals of this re-capitalization and modernization effort include increasing: fish survival, hydraulic capacity, turbine efficiency operational flexibility and turbine operations reliability.


Pumped Storage

Genex selects Andritz as preferred supplier for Kidston 2

Australian renewable energy developer Genex Power Ltd. has named Andritz as its preferred equipment supplier for the 250-MW Kidston Stage 2 pumped-storage hydropower project, which is to be located in northern Queensland.

The selection — made via the McConnell Dowell/John Holland joint venture tasked with providing engineering, procurement and construction services for Genex — dictates Andritz assist in optimizing the plant’s design and supply reversible Francis turbines and other electromechanical equipment.

The Kidston Stage 2 pumped storage plant (K2-Hydro) is one component of a complex that will also include a 270-MW solar facility (K2-Solar). Both were recently awarded development approvals by the Etheridge Shire Council.

The New South Wales-based developer is still working to fund what was previously reported as being a US$257.6 million undertaking, although the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced close to $3.8 million in financing in November.


Business and Finance

Personnel changes at EDF, Voith and Kleinschmidt

Recently, three companies that work in the hydroelectric market have announced personnel changes: Electricite de France, Voith and Kleinschmidt Associates. Details on each are:

Electricite de France

EDF says Bruno Bensasson is the new group senior executive president responsible for renewable energies and chief executive officer of EDF Energies Nouvelles.

Bensasson takes over from Antoine Cahuzac, who plans to retire. Cahuzac will act as advisor to the CEO until the end of 2018, “to make sure the transition is as smooth and efficient as possible,” a press release says.

Bensasson previously was CEO of Engie Africa and before that worked for GDF SUEZ.

Voith

Stephan Schaller is head of the corporate board of management at Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA, succeeding Dr. Hubert Lienhard, who is retiring as planned.

Schaller has been a member of Voith’s shareholders’ committee since 2015 and has many years of international experience in various sectors and industries outside Voith, including management and leadership positions at Linde, Schott and Volkswagen. He was responsible for the motorcycle division of the BMW Group before joining Voith.

Lienhard has been appointed to the shareholders’ committee and will “support the future development of the company with his specialist expertise.”

Kleinschmidt Associates

Kleinschmidt has made several recent announcements, including the selection of Jon Christensen as the new chief executive officer, replacing Charles Padera, who left the company in November 2017.

Additionally, Chris Goodell has joined Kleinschmidt as principal consultant for hydraulics and hydrology, and Steve Layman as a member of the modeling and GIST division. Together the two have 50 years combined experience managing water resource projects and advancing sustainable solutions and environmental stewardship, Kleinschmidt says.


Marine Hydrokinetics

Report highlights ocean energy activities in 2017

“2017 has been a landmark year in ocean energy,” according to the Annual Report released by the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems program.

For example, according to the report, global installed ocean energy power approximately doubled in 2017 compared with the previous year, surpassing 25 MW. Tidal current deployments increased to more than 17 MW and wave energy deployments reached 8 MW. The remainder of the capacity comes from ocean thermal energy conversion and salinity gradient. Tidal range utilization is not included in these figures.

OES includes “the full range of ocean energy technologies” in its work: waves, tidal range, tidal currents, ocean currents, ocean thermal energy conversion and salinity gradients. OES does not include offshore wind, marine biomass or submarine geothermal (which occupy sea space but do not directly utilize the properties of seawater).

The report details achievements and progress in many key tasks, three of which have been concluded. In addition, the OES initiated two new tasks in 2017: establishing a common international stage gate metrics framework to be used by technology developers, investors and funders, and validating numerical tools for tidal energy.

The report also contains highlights from many countries: Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

OES members represent 25 countries.


Dams/Civil Structures

Priest Rapids “stable” after drilling uncovers monolith leaks, says Grant PUD

Officials from Grant County Public Utility District have discovered leakage at its Priest Rapids Dam is being caused by dis-bonded lift joints in the structure’s spillway monoliths.

Grant PUD discovered the leak during inspection drillings late last month, causing the Washington-based utility to declare a “non-failure emergency” in which it reduced the reservoir behind the dam by about 3 feet. Subsequent examination of Priest Rapids has already found lift joint leaks at the same height in four of the dam’s 22 spillway monoliths, indicating they are occurring where one concrete pour was completed and another began.

“To date, inspection drilling has occurred through about half of the spillway and will continue throughout the remaining monoliths,” Grant PUD said in a statement. “This is anticipated to continue into May.”

The utility noted there “is no threat to property or people,” and that operations at Priest Rapids its 955.6-MW hydroelectric plant have not been affected.

“Once the investigation and analysis are complete, Grant PUD officials will make a determination on what, if any, remedies are needed beyond the drilling,” the utility said.

The 10,103-foot-long Priest Rapids Dam — on the Columbia River near Vantage, Wash. — was completed in July 1956. The facility is undergoing a $198 million refurbishment, with major works including the upgrade and replacement of runners, wicket gates, lubrication systems and other associated components.

Grant PUD’s initial review of Priest Rapids began as precautionary work after the utility completed repairs at its Wanapum Dam, where a spillway monolith cracked in February 2014. The incidents, however, are not similar.