Online platform to inform about Chile hydropower study results
An online platform called Hidroelectricidad Sustenable has been launched to publish information from a study on the hydropower potential of 12 river basins in central-southern Chile. The study found that the basins have hydro development potential of 11 GW, along with an additional 5 GW in the region of Aysen, according to a report by BNamericas.
A more in-depth study is under way of the seven basins, out of the 12 total, with the most energy potential.
The platform, launched by Chile’s Ministerio de Energia on Feb. 1 and available at www.hidroelectricidadsustenable.gob.cl, is intended to provide citizens access to information about hydroelectric development in the country.
The ministry has stated a goal of adding 100 new small hydro plants, with installed capacity of less than 20 MW each, by 2018, the end of President Michelle Bachelet’s term in office.
GE Renewable receives EEA grant for hydro technology research
GE Renewable Energy has received more than US$2.25 million in a European Economic Area grant to support hydropower research and development at its Spanish entities.
The award, given by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) through the EEA-Grants program, will be used for R&D associated with equipment for the the 300 MW Iveland plant in Norway and 72 MW Tepekisla in Turkey.
EEA-Grants is designed to reduce economic and social disparities in Europe, while strengthening relations between donor states and eligible member states of the EU.
Equipment contracts for Iveland and Tepekisla were originally awarded to Alstom. The company was to supply two 35 MW horizontal Kaplan turbines, inlet valves, generators and a 4 MW Francis turbine for Tepekisla, as well as a 50 MW turbine and associated equipment for Iveland.
GE Renewable Energy took over the supply contracts when GE completed its acquisition of Alstom in November.
UK group wins grant to develop hydro turbine simulation system
A US$144,000 grant from think tank Innovate UK will be used by a group led by manufacturer Your Hydro to develop a new modeling and visualization system for hydroelectric turbines.
The collaboration also includes the Centre for Modeling and Simulation (CFMS) and computational fluid dynamic specialist WIKKI Ltd., who will work to design what Your Hydro calls a “virtual turbine environment.”
“We will use this funding to develop an in-house capability for computational fluid dynamics, obtain access to high-performance computing and utilize the ability to assess the feasibility of a proposed hydroelectric site,” said Your Hydro Design Engineer Edis Loveless.
Based on simulation developed for the aerospace industry, the turbine environment system will also allow for the introduction of ancillary devices.
Study says more focus on basin planning needed
A study recently published in Science magazine indicates freshwater biodiversity is at risk in three of the world’s largest tropic river basins.
The authors say that the Amazon, Congo and Mekong are experiencing an unprecedented boom in construction of dams that impound water for hydroelectric facilities. Using new analytical tools and high-resolution environmental data, the authors were able to “clarify trade-offs between engineering and environmental goals,” which “can enable governments and funding institutions to compare alternative sites for dam building.”
The summary indicates that, “These projects address important energy needs, but advocates often overestimate economic benefits and underestimate far-reaching effects on biodiversity and critically important fisheries.”
The authors point to the fact that current site-specific assessment protocols largely ignore cumulative impacts on hydrology and ecosystem service. They call for “more sophisticated and holistic hydropower planning, including validation of technologies intended to mitigate environmental impacts.”
Read a summary at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6269/128.summary.
Pumped storage hydropower discussed in energy storage report
A focus on levelized cost of electricity can be misleading when comparing the array of storage technologies available, according to a report by the World Energy Council. For E-storage: Shifting from Cost to Value, Wind and Solar Applications, a cost modeling process was employed that repeatedly uncovered the same issues, namely the importance of defining the business model under consideration and how the storage plant was being operated.
With regard to pumped storage hydropower, the report indicates the lowest cost reduction from the 2015 study period to 2030 of all the technologies, due to current maturity level. In fact, the report says, “Pumped storage hydropower and compressed air energy storage are the most mature and other technologies bring a cost and risk premium due to their lower levels of commercial maturity.”
Pumped storage was found to have some of the lowest specific investment costs and has one of the lowest levelized costs of storage of all the technologies studied.
The report is available at www.worldenergy.org/publications/2016/e-storage-shifting-from-cost-to-value-2016.