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Siberia’s 3,000 MW Boguchanskaya project fully commissioned

RusHydro announces that the last of the nine 333 MW turbine-generating units is now operating at its 3,000 MW Boguchanskaya plant on the Angara River in Kodinsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia, Russia.

Development of this facility was a 50/50 joint venture between RusHydro and UC RUSAL, an aluminum producer. RusHydro has a total of 36.5 GW of installed electricity generating capacity.

The final unit at the 3,000 MW Boguchanskaya project in Russia began operating in late December 2014.

Boguchanskaya’s primary objective is to annually produce about 10.4 TWh for the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions to power the smelter, planned railways, a new paper mill and residential areas.

St. Petersburg-based Power Machines (Silovye Machiny) designed and manufactured the turbines. The first three Boguchanskaya units began operation in November 2012, according to RusHydro. The fourth unit launched operations in January 2013; Unit 5 on Nov. 5, 2013; Unit 6 on Dec. 6, 2013; and Units 7 and 8 were commissioned in September 2014.

The plant began to supply the commercial wholesale electricity market on December 1, 2012. Since its launch, Boguchanskaya has generated 13 TWh of electricity. The company said, for nine months of 2014 it has paid more than RUB1.3 billion (US$23.7 million) to the federal and regional budgets.


Mount Coffee completion delayed due to Ebola virus

Completion of rehab work at the 64 MW Mount Coffee plant in Liberia has been delayed by a year due to the spread of the Ebola virus, according to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The project, on the St. Paul River 27 km northeast of Monrovia, was destroyed during civil war in the early 1990s. The powerhouse contained four turbine-generator units, two 15 MW units that began operating in 1966 and two 17 MW unit that began operating in 1973.

The cost to bring the facility back on line is estimated at US$230 million.

Work on rehabilitation of the 64 MW Mount Coffee project in Liberia has been delayed by a year due to the Ebola virus.

Sirleaf and other officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the rehab in January 2014. At that time, Sirleaf said her goal was to see the first new turbine-generator units producing power in 2015, with the plant completed in 2016. It is reported that the government set the completion date for the Mount Coffee project at Dec. 25, 2015. However, the new goal is to have the plant completed by the end of 2016.

Work was suspended on the site, as reported by Sirleaf, in early August 2014. Multiple news sources have reported that Sirleaf said the Ebola epidemic, which has claimed thousands of lives in Liberia, has stalled every project in the country, including the hydro project.

Sirleaf is reported to have assured that a 38 MW plant will be operational, much lower than the initial 80 MW from four 20 MW units.


BC Hydro seeks to advance work on 1,100 MW Peace River Site C project

Work on British Columbia’s 1,100 MW Peace River Site C project is moving forward, with Canadian utility BC Hydro looking to hire a company to perform site preparation.

BC Hydro wants a company to prepare the construction site on the north bank of the Peace River. Work is to include excavation and disposal of about 3 million m3, quarry development including riprap production of about 100,000 m3, building 7.25 km of access roads, and clearing and grubbing 115 hectares.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark approved BC Hydro’s plans for Site C in December 2014, ending speculation that the provincial government might forego the project in lieu of other alternatives.

The controversial US$7.7 billion project was selected primarily over uncertainties due to the future of natural gas prices through the next 20 years. “Affordable, reliable, clean electricity is the backbone of British Columbia’s economy,” Clark said. “Site C will support our quality of life for decades to come and will enable continued investment and a growing economy.”

Site C is part of British Columbia’s plan to meet what it anticipates will be a 40% increase in the province’s demand for power over the coming two decades. The plant is designed to generate power for at least a century, the company said, and is expected to save ratepayers an average of C$560 million to C$773 million per year over the first half of its life, compared to alternatives.

BC Hydro said construction on Site C will begin in summer 2015 and will create about 10,000 jobs over eight years of work.


Filipino DOE awards contracts to develop 22 projects on Mindano Island

Construction will begin on 22 new hydro projects on Mindano Island this year after the Filipino Department of Energy (DOE) announced it awarded pre-development and development contracts to nine organizations on Jan. 2.

Published reports indicate the projects, in the Davao Region, have a combined capacity of 256.35 MW. Neither the total financial outlay for the projects nor a final completion date is available. Nine organizations own the projects and they include private companies, local government units and electric cooperatives.

An estimated 5 million people live in the Davao Region and it is the second most populous area on the southeastern coast of Mindano Island in the Philippines. It suffers from continual, pervasive power outages, according to published reports.

According to DOE, the proposed projects and their development groups/owners are:

— San Lorenzo Builders & Developers Group: 140 MW Davao
— Global Sibagat Hydro Power Corp.: 34 MW Casauman
— Hedcor Tamugan: 11.5 MW Tamugan
— Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Dasureco): 5 MW Ruparan
— Euro Hydro Power (Asia) Holdings: 1.7 MW Guma River, 700 kW Bulatakay Creek, 2.5 MW Napon River, 1 MW New Bataam, 1.4 MW Dapnan, 2 MW Baganga River, 750 kW Manay, 1.8 MW Quinonoan River 1 and 1.5 MW Quinonoan River 2
— Municipality of Malita: 2.5 MW Malita
— Sta. Clara Power Corp.: 4 MW Upper Maco, 2 MW Mt. Leonard, 4 MW Tagum River, 3 MW Hijo River 1, and 3 MW Hijo River 2
— LGS Renewable Energies: 2 MW Osmena and 17 MW Manorigao
— Alsons Energy Development Corp.: 15 MW Sumlog 2

Rolando J. Fara-on, DOE Mindanao senior science research specialist and engineer, said the awarded service contracts are for site pre-development and development. The pre-development service contracts will allow companies to begin site feasibility studies and compile required documents, certificates and government endorsements.


Bill to cut hydro development costs boosts 700 MW Zungeru

The execution of an amended bill might allow the US$1.3 billion Zungeru project in Nigeria to move forward.

At issue is the amount of revenue needed to fund the Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) Bill. HYPPADEC, among other things, is responsible for curbing the ecological problems facing communities brought on by the construction and activities related to hydroelectric projects. HYPPADEC also establishes a governing council, management, advisory and monitoring committees.

Initially, HYPPADEC required project owners to pay 30% of revenue from the sale of energy to fund the bill. An amended bill presented in April includes a 10% contribution of the total revenue accruable to the power firms and 25% of the ecological fund due to HYPPADEC states, while the federal government will contribute 50% of the amount contributed by the benefiting states. It appears the amended bill will be implemented.

The Zungeru project will provide power generation, flood protection and water for irrigation. The project includes a roller-compacted-concrete dam (90 m high and 1,090 m long), an intake tower and diversion tunnel, underground powerhouse, power transmission line and access road. Once complete, Zungeru will be the largest power station in Nigeria, according to its developers.

Zungeru is one of several hydro projects that are part of Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) proposed in 2006. REMP seeks to increase the supply of renewable electricity — including wind, solar, biomass and small hydro — from 13% of electricity generation in 2015 to 23% in 2025 and 36% by 2030, according to the Nigerian government.

China Exim is supplying about 75% of funding, while the Nigerian government is contributing the remaining 25%, or about US$309 million.


Equipment makes its way to 11,200 MW Belo Monte plant

Voith Hydro reported in mid-January that it had shipped a runner for the 11,200 MW Belo Monte plant, on the Xingu River in Para State.

The runner is 8.5 meters tall, has a diameter of 5 meters and weighs 320 tons. It was transported from Voith Hydro’s manufacturing plant in Manaus, Brazil, 20 km by truck, then loaded onto a heavy-duty barge for an 890 km journey down the river.

Developer Norte Energy of Brazil has named several companies to supply equipment for the project, including Alstom and Andritz.

Belo Monte is anticipated to cost US$26 billion to develop and will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric complex when completed in 2019.


Russian-backed consortium funds US$1.84 billion Chihuido I

Argentina’s Planning Ministry awarded the 637 MW Chihuido I project, which will require a US$1.84 billion investment, to an Argentine-Spanish consortium backed by Russian financing. Minister of Planning and Public Investment Julio de Vido and Minister of Economy Axel Kicillof made the announcement on Dec. 22.

Chihuido 1 was originally envisioned as a 470 MW project in 2008, but its capacity has been increased to 637 MW. Construction is expected to take up to five years. The plant should annually contribute about 1,750 GWh to the national Argentine Interconnected System and directly affect the creation of 3,500 jobs.

A Russian bank will finance 85% of the investment with a 20 year loan at a 6.5% annual fixed interest rate and a 66 month grace period through Moscow-based, state-owned Inter Rao, according to published reports.

According to the Argentine state-owned company overseeing the project, Emprendimientos Hidroeléctricos Sociedad del Estado Provincial del Neuquén (Emhidro SEP), two major developments surround the facility’s ownership and technical infrastructure. Chihuido 1 will have a 105 foot-tall dam across the Neuquen River and a powerhouse containing four 159.25 MW Francis units. The reservoir will provide drinking water and irrigation for about 7,000 hectares of farmland, as well as help control flooding in the Rà­o Negro valley.


Tribute to hydropower, water resources expert John Briscoe

We were saddened to learn of the death of John Briscoe on Nov. 12, 2014, age 66, after a battle with cancer.

Hydropower and water resources expert John Briscoe passed away in November 2014.

Among Briscoe’s accomplishments was being named the 2014 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate by the Stockholm International Water Institute. Briscoe worked in the South African ministry of water resources and for the World Bank. Most recently, he directed the Harvard Water Security Initiative.

Briscoe authored an HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide article on financing the 1,070-MW Nam Theun 2 project in Laos.


Investor licenses for development could be revoked

Investors developing new hydro projects in Vietnam face increasing regulatory oversight. Citing mismanagement and illegal land acquisitions, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, said the government might assess penalties that include potentially revoking investor licenses for particular projects.

Reports published in 2014 said reasons for developments include: licensees missing deadlines, breaches of land management protocols, failing to produce detailed maps for the allocation of public land and unauthorized purchase of land held by ethnic minority communities.

According to the Asia Pacific Forestry Commission, a 2013 World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) study indicates improper planning and safeguards have damaged ecosystems in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The Central Highlands Region Steering Committee agreed with WWF’s findings. Central Highlands has the largest number of hydro plants approved for construction in the country — 485 — with a potential total installed capacity of nearly 10,000 MW. To date, 118 have been built and 75 are under construction.

In February 2014, the committee terminated 167 hydro projects in Central Highlands provinces and neighboring localities, which have a combined total installed capacity of 617.36 MW. The committee said 25 developers of large projects, including some being built, had acquired more than 168,513 acres of land and affected the lives of more than 25,700 people, displacing nearly 7,000.

Phat is seeking support from officials to present a unified front in mandating project owners to comply with regulatory guidelines.

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