Institution of Civil Engineers includes dams, hydro, marine projects in its 200 outstanding projects list

The Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK has posted its ICE 200 — outstanding civil engineering projects chosen by its members from around the world — and dams, hydro and marine projects are on this list.

Specific projects featured are below:

Dinorwig Power Station was built in caverns inside a mountain in north Wales and was completed in 1984. It has a capacity of 1,728 MW and was built to provide rapid response to sudden demands for electricity: Dinorwig can stabilize demand on the National Grid within 12 seconds. The existing Lake Marchlyn was enlarged via construction of a 35-m-high dam and became the upper reservoir.

European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, which was built in 2003 to test wave and tidal technologies for manufacturers. The centre’s work means that marine energy now supports about 300 jobs in the Orkneys, and local companies benefit by about £1 million from each device tested.

Hoover Dam on the Colorado River between Arizona and California in the U.S. was completed in 1936, more than two years ahead of schedule. The dam is 200 m thick at the bottom and only 14 m thick near the top, and such a large concrete structure had never been built before. Some of the methods the engineers used were completely new and untried.

Hydroelectric power New Zealand started with the 100-kW Okere Falls hydro plant and continued with the Lake Coleridge scheme completed in 1914. New Zealand’s last major hydro project was Clyde dam in 1993, and in total the country has more than 100 hydroelectric generating plants. Hydroelectric power supplies more than half of the country’s energy needs.

Hydroelectric power Scotland started in the early 20th century, driven by the need to provide power for aluminum smelting plants. This led to the construction of the Laggan dam and hydroelectric system in 1934. By 1965, 54 main power stations and 78 dams had been built, providing more than 1,000 MW of capacity. Scotland now has 85% of the UK’s hydroelectric energy resource.

Kainji hydroelectric dam on the Niger River in Nigeria was completed in 1968. It provides electrical power for Nigeria and improved navigation of the Niger River upstream, as well as providing water for irrigation. The powerhouse has a capacity of 760 MW and the dam is 7.2 km long.

Mangla dam on the Jhelum River in Pakistan is the seventh largest dam in the world and was completed in 1967. It was built to provide irrigation water during crucial growing seasons and can irrigate up to 1.3 million acres of land. The hydroelectric component of this dam provides up to 8% of the country’s electricity needs in some years.

Nile water control refers to the Aswan dam or Aswan high dam built on the Nile river in southern Egypt. The dam was completed in 1970 to control flooding and provide drinking and irrigation water. This rockfill dam is 111 m tall and 3,830 m long and contains 43 million m3 of material. The high dam replaces the function of the low dam further downstream, which was completed in 1902.

Shannon hydro scheme on the Shannon River in Ireland was completed in 1929 and was one of the largest civil engineering projects in the world at the time. By 1935, it was producing 80% of Ireland’s electricity. This scheme sped up the country’s commercial and industrial development and led to the founding of the Electricity Supply Board.

Snowy Mountains hydro scheme in southeast Australia was completed in 1974 and consists of 16 major dams, seven power stations, two pumping stations, and 225 km of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts. The project produces electricity and supplies water to arid farming areas. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated this scheme as one of the civil engineering wonders of the modern world in 1967.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon has not yet been built but is scheduled to be completed in 2019 and provide clean energy for up to 155,000 homes. It is the world’s first energy generating tidal lagoon and could save up to 236,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The tidal lagoon is expected to become a major tourist attraction with about 100,000 visitors per year.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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