HRW Briefings

Modernizing Russia’s Saratovskaya, Bratsk plants

Hydro utility RusHydro has signed a contract with Voith Hydro St. Polten for modernization of the 1,360 MW Saratovskaya project in the 10 GW Volga-Kama hydropower cascade.

With an order value of €140 million (US$190.8 million) to upgrade the first five Kaplan turbines, the work will increase the capacity of each unit to 68 MW, from 60 MW.

Voith Hydro said it would modernize the units in different stages in close cooperation with a Russian partner. Russian equipment manufacturer Power Machines said in September it approved a deal with Voith Hydro but did not disclose details.

Voith Hydro has also secured a contract to supply six replacement turbine rotors at the 4,500 MW Bratsk project in the Angara-Yenisei cascade in Siberia.

Voith Hydro signed the agreement with utility OAO Irkutskenergo in mid-September. It is expected to deliver the first rotor by September 2013 and the sixth by March 2016.

Irkutskenergo completed installation of six previous replacement rotors, supplied by Power Machines, at the end of 2010. Replacement of the rotors increases turbine efficiency to 95.3%, the utility said.

General Manager Yevgeny Fyodorov of Irkutskenergo and OAO EuroSibEnergo said replacing the additional six rotors will raise the economic efficiency of the units and improve reliability and security of the Bratsk project. EuroSibEnergo is a private Russian energy company that controls 18 power plants totaling 19,500 MW.

Emerson Process Management also signed an agreement with RusHydro in August for process automation projects to improve the reliability and availability of Saratovskaya and the 2,541 MW Volzhskaya and 1,020 MW Votkinskaya plants.

Brazilian projects get environment agency approval

Brazil’s environmental regulator has issued a license to allow operation of the 3,150 MW Santo Antonio project, being built on the Madeira River.

Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (Ibama) said that, after technical studies, it decided the project reservoir should be filled in three stages to ensure water quality at levels suitable for multiple use and for maintenance of fish.

Brazilian state-run power company Eletrobras Furnas holds 39% of Consorcio Madeira Energia that controls project owner Santo Antonio Energia. Consorcio Madeira Energia also includes Odebrecht Investimentos em Infra-estrutura Ltda., 17.6%; Construtora Norberto Odebrecht S.A., 1%; Andrade Gutierrez Participacoes S/A, 12.4%; Cemig Geracao e Transmissao S/A, 10%; and Fundo de Investimentos e Participacoes Amazonia Energia (formed by banks Banif and Santander), 20%.

Ibama said reservoir filling was to begin immediately and terminate upon reaching a level of 70.5 meters at the end of November. After filling the 546 km2 reservoir, Santo Antonio Energia is authorized to produce power.

To offset environmental effects of the project, Santo Antonio Energia is to invest about BRL56 million (US$30.4 million), representing 0.5% of the project value, as required by law.

Santo Antonio is one of two big projects, with 3,750 MW Jirau, comprising the Madeira River complex. GDF Suez recently reported that Jirau, currently under construction, is to be expanded from the original concession of 44 units to 50 units, each with a capacity of 75 MW. The announcement will increase total capacity of the project from the initial 3,300 MW to 3,750 MW.

In related news, Ibama has issued an installation license for the 1,800 MW Teles Pires project in the center-western state of Mato Grosso. The project is due to come online in 2015.

The license authorizes construction at the plant site. An operating license will be required and issued once construction is finished, Business News Americas reports.

The Companhia Hidreletrica Teles Pires consortium carrying out the project consists of local utility Neoenergia (50.1%), state-run firms Eletrobras Furnas (24.5%), Eletrobras Eletrosul (24.5%) and local engineering company Odebrecht (0.9%).

Porce 3 begins operations

Colombian utility Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) has begun full commercial operation of the 660 MW Porce 3 project on Colombia’s Porce River.

EPM began operating the first turbine-generator unit in December 2010, bringing the other three units on line over the past six months, with the fourth unit beginning operation in September in Antioquia Province. The project features a 148 foot-tall concrete-faced rockfill dam, an underground powerhouse and a reservoir covering 575 hectares.

The US$1.33 billion project was built by a consortium of Brazil’s Construcciones Carmargo Correa and Colombia’s Conconcreto and Coninsa-Ramon H. EPM awarded contracts in 2007 totaling $16 million to Argentina’s Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona S.A. (IMPSA) and Italy’s ATB-Riva Calzoni to supply gates for the diversion tunnel and outlets. IMPSA previously received a $36.9 million contract to supply four Francis turbines, while Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Ltd. received a $44.8 million contract to supply synchronous generators.

The 660 MW Porce 3 project in Colombia has begun full commercial operation, with all four turbine-generator units on-line as of September.

EPM President Restrepo Posada said Porce 3 emphasized high compliance with provisions of its environmental license governing development and employment generated in the region, as well as management of project impacts. EPM relocated 170 families in the catchment area or nearby locations and agreed to improve schools, health facilities, roads, housing and community facilities.

The next project, the 2,400 MW Ituango development on Colombia’s Cauca River, is under construction with completion expected in late 2018.

A consortium of Ferrovial Agroman Chile S.A. and Sainc Ingenieros Constructores S.A. of Colombia has begun importation of equipment, processing of legal documents, and recruitment of staff to build construction camps and perform other work. Ferrovial Agroman and Sainc received a €55 million (US$77.3 million) contract in July to build a powerhouse access tunnel and two river diversion tunnels.

Colombia firm AIA (Arquitectos e Ingenieros Asociados) is carrying out topographic surveying and acquisition of building materials for construction camps AIA is to build. EPM also said oversight has begun for the project’s main civil works and installation of electromechanical equipment, to be carried out by a consortium of Colombian engineering companies Ingetec and Sedic under a $66.3 million contract.

Ituango is to have eight turbine-generators. Investment is expected to total at least $3 billion, and construction is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2013.

Statkraft to build Cetin in Turkey

Norwegian power company Statkraft says it is to begin construction of the 517 MW Cetin project on the Botan River in Turkey’s Southeast Anatolia Region.

Statkraft purchased 95% of Turkish hydropower operator Yesil Enerji from Global Yatirim in 2009. At that time, a 350 MW Cetin project was listed among Yesil’s projects in various stages of development.

Statkraft said the €500 million (US$678 million) project will be its largest hydropower plant outside Norway, generating 1.4 TWh annually. The project is to have two dams and powerhouses, 401 MW Cetin Main and 116 MW Cetin Lower.

Civil works are to be built by two Turkish firms, Yuksel and Ilci. Andritz Hydro of Austria is to supply electromechanical equipment under a €90 million ($122 million) contract. Both plants are scheduled to begin operations in 2015.

Cetin Main is to hold three Francis turbine-generators, while Cetin Lower will have two Kaplan units. Andritz said each plant also will have a small hydropower unit to generate power from minimum flows for protection of natural resources.

Statkraft’s 102 MW Kargi plant is under construction on the Kizilirmak River, with completion expected in 2013.

Hitachi-Mitsubishi hydro merger moves

A mooted alliance of Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd is moving along after the three entered into a basic agreement calling for consolidation of their hydroelectric power generation system operations by way of simplified absorption-type company splits of their respective operations and the transfer of those operations to Hitachi subsidiary HM Hydro Ltd.

The Japanese companies first announced plans to merge hydroelectric operations in July 2010.

A part of the agreements, shares in HM Hydro have been allocated as follows: 44.7% to Hitachi, 33.2% to Mitsubishi Electric, 22.1% to MHI.

Argentina, Paraguay to build 272 MW Ana Cua

Joint Argentina-Paraguay operator Entidad Binacional Yacyreta (EBY) is moving forward on building and equipping the Ana Cua project, an addition to the 3,200 MW Yacyreta complex on the Parana River.

Yacyreta was developed jointly by Argentina and Paraguay, with Argentina financing the project in the 1980s at a cost of about US$10 billion. EBY most recently increased Yacyreta’s reservoir level to 83 meters above sea level from 76 meters, increasing generation by 64% to 19,545 GWh per year.

The Ana Cua project, to have a capacity of 210 to 272 MW, is to be built on the existing Ana Cua Dam on the Ana Cua branch of the Parana River. EBY is soliciting international bids for equipment and bids from Argentina and Paraguay firms for the civil construction.

Large equipment heads to Far East hydro

Giant hydroelectric units built by Russian manufacturer Power Machines are on their way to the Russian Far East for installation at the 6,400 MW Sayano-Shushenskaya and 3,000 MW Boguchanskaya projects.

Power Machines said it shipped the second consignment of equipment for rehab of Sayano-Shushenskaya. A 2009 accident at the plant, on the Yenisei River in the remote region of Khakassia, flooded the powerhouse, damaging equipment and killing 75 people.

The giant units were loaded at St. Petersburg onto a river-ocean class vessel, the only means of transporting the three sets of generating equipment, including 145 ton turbine runners, generator bearing oil baths and a 13 ton rotor frame. The 5,900 km trip takes the equipment to the 6,000 MW Krasnoyarsk project, where it is transferred to river barge for towing to the 321 MW Mainskaya project, then delivered by truck to Sayano-Shushenskaya.

Power Machines signed an RUB11.7 billion (US$371.4 million) contract with project owner RusHydro in November 2009. The company is to build 10 turbines and nine generators with a capacity of 640 MW each, as well as six excitation systems. The first shipment to Sayano-Shushenskaya arrived in August.

Power Machines also is providing installation, supervision services and commissioning of the equipment. The first new unit is due to begin operation in December, and all work is due to be completed by 2014.

Power Machines also shipped off by the same route the final consignment of turbines for the Boguchanskaya project being built on the Angara River in Russia’s Khakassia region.

The manufacturer said the turbine runners for Boguchanskaya Units 8 and 9 are the largest produced by Russia in more than 10 years, weighing 155.6 tons each.

After transfer to barge at Krasnoyarsk, the units are moved to the Boguchanskaya site on the Angara River. Seven units previously were shipped to Boguchanskaya from 2008 through 2010.

Power Machines is to deliver and install nine units at the plant through 2013. Separate turbine and generator contracts are valued at RUB3 billion ($117.3 million) each.

RusHydro is developing Boguchanskaya as part of a joint venture with Russian metals producer United Company RUSAL.

The 3,000 MW Boguchanskaya project is being built on the Angara River in Russia, using equipment supplied by Power Machines.

Swiss-German utility brings new hydro on line

Energiedienst Holding AG (EDH), the Swiss-German hydropower utility, has begun formal operation of the 100 MW Rheinfelden project on the Rhine River dividing Germany from Switzerland.

Labeled Germany’s biggest onshore renewable energy plant, new Rheinfelden replaced the 100 year-old, 25.7 MW Rheinfelden project at a cost of €400 million (US$510.4 million). The new plant is to more than triple generation to more than 600 GWh per year compared with the previous 185 GWh.

Voith Hydro supplied Rheinfelden’s four 25 MW Kaplan bulb turbines and a separate minimum flow turbine. A consortium of Voith Hydro and Alstom Hydro (Switzerland) AG received a contract from EDH, an affiliate of German utility EnBW, in 2006 to supply turbines and generators for the project.

Alstom equipment for Brazil and Peru

A consortium of Alstom with Brazilian companies CESBE and Areva Koblitz has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract worth US$418.5 million to provide equipment for the 373.4 MW Santo Antonio do Jari plant in Brazil. The plant is owned by Consorcio Amapa Energia.

Alstom will supply Kaplan turbines, generators, hydromechanical and lifting equipment, digital control system, engineering works, erection, supervision and commissioning for the three units. The plant is expected to be commissioned in late 2014.

The company will also provide equipment for the 450 MW Chaglla dam in Peru under the terms of a $108 million contract.

In Peru, Alstom will supply the complete electromechanical package, which includes a powerhouse with two vertical Francis turbines of 225 MW each, generators and electrical and mechanical auxiliary systems. The scope of the deal includes power transformers and switchyard equipment provided by Alstom Grid, hydromechanical equipment, digital control system, telecom and plant protection and a small hydro plant.

French utility to power Lac de Rabouns site

Electricite de France (EDF) plans to build a penstock to permit generation from the site of an uncompleted hydro project on Lac de Rabouns in France’s Alpes Maritimes Department.

EDF is looking for design, supply, installation, and inner and outer corrosion protection for a penstock at the mountain lake where an access road and tunneling were completed for a hydro project that was interrupted between the two world wars and never completed. Included is civil works at the water intake.

The penstock is to be 5 km long with an internal diameter of 400 mm, designed for a head of 1,400 meters. The work is expected to require 36 months.

Itezhi-Tezhi project launched

Zambia’s President Banda has launched the commencement of works for the US$250 million Itezhi Tezhi project, expected to provide a capacity of 120 MW and create more than 450 jobs.

Being implemented under a private-public partnership between ZESCO and Tata Africa Corp., the project should reduce the country’s electricity deficit.

Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony, President Banda said it was the wish of his government to ensure the energy sector was sustained in the country in tandem with the increasing demand for electricity. He said the hydroelectric projects had been in the pipeline since 1999 and his government had simply reinvigorated the commitment to ensure that it was completed.

“National power demand has been increasing faster than projected, largely due to the rapid growth of our economy at the average rate of 6.4% over the last six years,” he said. The President said it was imperative that the energy sector did not hold up the general economic growth.

He said the government’s Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) clearly outlined the plans set in the energy sector, such as the development of new power stations across the country.

He said the energy projects being worked on included the rehabilitation of Kariba North Bank Power Station, which was almost complete with only one generator remaining, and the development of works at the 360 MW Kariba North Bank extension project worth $420 million, which was launched two years ago.

Banda said there was also the 750 MW Kafue Gorge Lower project worth $2 billion, whose works were launched in July 2011. The president said other benefits to be drawn from the hydro project include the improvement of the water system in the district, construction of schools, construction of roads and rehabilitation of hospitals.

India High Commissioner to Zambia Ashok Kumar added that the Itezhi-Tezhi project will be transferred to the government of Zambia after 25 years.

Explosion injures workers at Simon Bolivar project

Two workers were injured in an explosion at Venezuela’s 10,300 MW Simon Bolivar hydro project, also known as Guri, wire services report.

The technicians, who suffered first and second degree burns, were performing final tests on Unit 12, which is currently disconnected from the national SEN network for refurbishment.

Simon Bolivar is located in Bolivar State, on the Caroni River.

At the end of last year, Venezuela’s government announced plans to invest about US$1.86 billion in power generation and transmission projects over the course of 2011, with much of the investment earmarked for repairing six of Simon Bolivar’s generation units.

The Inter-American Development Bank provided $700 million in financing to the government of Venezuela for the work, which is intended to increase capacity of the Simon Bolivar project by 795 MW.

Romanian rehabilitation at Stejaru

Romanian utility Hidroelectrica SA is planning a major rehabilitation and modernization of the 210 MW Stejaru project at Bicaz Dam in Romania.

Hidroelectrica recruited consultants in July to support the rehabilitation. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved a €110 million (US$153.7 million) loan in July for work at Stejaru (also called Stejarul).

The largest plant in a 450 MW cascade of hydro projects on the Bistrita River, Stejaru has been in operation for 50 years.

The work is expected to cost about €110 million. It includes replacement of electromechanical equipment for six turbine-generators and related systems and rehabilitation or replacement of hydromechanical equipment and penstocks. Other work includes upgrade of electrical equipment, instrumentation, controls, and SCADA system, as well as rehab of the 110 kV and 220 kV substations.

Latin investment in Chilean hydro

A unit of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has agreed to invest up to US$5 million in renewable energy in Chile, including up to eight small hydro projects.

IADB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) will provide the equity investment to the Chilean Renovarum Renewable Energy Fund, a program that seeks to create a new development model for the local venture capital industry around low-carbon and climate-friendly technologies.

The fund, managed by Renovarum Investment Management S.A., is to invest in up to eight small projects totaling 160 MW.

It aims to pave the way for the fund to make direct investments in clean energy, contribute to build local management capabilities, and demonstrate the financial viability of the new development model for the local venture capital industry.

India seeks equipment for Shongtong Karcham

Himachal Pradesh Power Corp. Ltd. (HPPC) is working to source electromechanical equipment for the 450 MW Shongtong Karcham project on the Satluj River in Himachal Pradesh State.

HPPC took bids in April to construct civil and hydromechanical works of Shongtong Karcham (or Songtong Karcham), one of four run-of-river projects HPPC is developing under the Multi-Tranche Financing Facility Himachal Clean Power Development program funded by the Asian Development Bank.

Shongtong Karcham is to include a diversion dam, tunnel, and powerhouse with three Francis turbine-generators.

HPPC seeks generating units with associated auxiliaries, generator transformers, 420 kV gas-insulated switchgear, and other equipment for the underground powerhouse and switchyard.

Metolong Dam contract awarded to Sinohydro

Lesotho has awarded a US$79.9 million contract to Sinohydro of China to build Metolong Dam and a raw water pumping station.

The government recruited builders in 2010 to construct Metolong on the Phuthitsana River. The European Investment Bank approved a €140 million (US$190.4 million) loan for the €282 million ($397.3 million) project in 2010.

According to the government, Sinohydro was chosen from among six bidders.

The dam is a Lesotho Lowlands Water Supply project that is to supply domestic and industrial water to six lowland districts of Lesotho. The government recruited consultants in 2009 for preparatory work at the project. U.S. consultant Paul J. Collins was named engineering manager.

Boost for Liyang pumped storage

Power conversion specialist Converteam has signed a contract with NARI Technology Development Co. to supply static frequency converters for the 1,500 MW Liyang Pumped Storage Power Plant, the largest pumped storage plant in Jiangsu Province.

Converteam’s scope of supply includes two sets of 18 MW water-cooled converters, equipped with a high-performance control platform. The converters will be used to start up and run up quickly in pump mode six sets of reversible 250 MW turbine motor-generators and entering into operation in 2015.

Converteam claims its static frequency converters offer braking possibilities by regenerating power to the grid and can be used for rotor balancing. Compared to a fixed speed solution, this variable speed drive solution can save up to 50% of energy consumption, the company adds.

In other pumped storage developments, China’s Sinohydro has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukrainian utility UkrHydroEnergo to construct the 1,000 MW Kaniv pumped-storage plant, news agencies report.

Estimated investment is up to €1 billion (US$1.4 billion).

EBRD finance for Georgia’s Paravani

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to invest US$5 million in Georgia Urban Energy LLC, a unit of Turkey’s Anadolu Group that is developing the 87 MW Paravani project on Georgia’s Paravani River.

The 5% equity transaction is part of a larger EBRD investment that includes a $63.5 million loan for Paravani. EBRD and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. are providing a $115.5 million credit to Georgia Urban Energy to co-finance the construction and operation of Paravani.

The $167 million run-of-river project is to be built in the Samtskhe/Javakheti Region of southwestern Georgia and will be linked through a converter substation in Georgia and by transmission lines to the Georgia and Turkey electricity grids.

Olivier Descamps, EBRD managing director for the region, said the project is the first cross-border private power generation project in Georgia. Anadalou Group Chief Executive Officer Tuncay Ozilhan said the group has a target of 2,000 MW in generation investments in Turkey and neighboring countries.

EBRD also recently announced a €40 million ($54.4 million) equity contribution to establish the Clean Energy Transition Fund, which has a target size of €200 million ($272.3 million). The fund is to increase available capital in Turkey and neighboring countries in the western Balkans and the Caucasus to develop cleaner energy resources. The bank said the fund would focus on hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, biomass and solar generation.

EBRD said the fund will seek to make 10 to 15 equity investments with individual investment ranging from €5 million to €30 million ($6.8 million to $40.8 million). At least 70% of operations are to be in Turkey, with the remainder in the western Balkans and the Caucasus.

Macedonia advancing development of Boskov Most

Bids for the design and construction of the 70 MW Boskov Most project on the Mala Reka River in the western part of the country are being sought by Macedonia’s government.

Utility AD Elektrani na Makedonija (Elem) says it intends to apply for a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to build Boskov Most for an estimated cost of €84 million euros (US$113.1 million).

The project is to include a stone dam, diversion channels, a tunnel, pipeline and powerhouse. With funding from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, a 2003 feasibility study of the then 45 MW project recommended it be increased in capacity to 70 MW and redesigned as a peaking plant.

SMEC opens NZ office

SMEC has established a new operation in Auckland, New Zealand, with operations commencing in October 2011. The initial focus of SMEC New Zealand Ltd will be the power, energy, dams and hydropower sectors.

Michael Breckon joins SMEC as international manager Industrial and Power, responsible for the overall performance of this business across SMEC globally. Previously he was international director Power and Energy at AECOM New Zealand.


In the Briefings department of the September-October issue, we reported on a contract award for rehabilitation of the Kainji hydro project in Nigeria. This report contained some incorrect information.

The contract was signed with Hydrochina Huadong Engineering Corp., not Sinohydro Corp. Three units are being rehabilitated: two 120 MW units and one 100 MW unit. The first 120 MW unit is to be completed in about 37 months and the remaining two units within 42 months. Alhaji Afolabi Ganiyu is general manager of the World Bank Projects Management Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. And the rehab project will be supervised by Coyne et Bellier, not Alstom Hydro. We apologize for these errors.

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