CTGC will construct 1,100 MW Kohala project
China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) will develop the 1,100 MW Kohala project, a run-of-river scheme on the Jhelum River in Azad-Jammu-Kashmir (AJK) in Pakistan.
In 2014, Pakistan’s National Transmission and Dispatch Co. and China International Water and Electric Corp. (CWE) – a subsidiary of CTGC – finalized a 30-year tariff at an average of 7.9 cents per unit and estimated the project will cost about US$2.4 billion.
The Kohala scheme, owned by Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority, will have a gravity, roller compacted-concrete dam on the upper branch of the Jhelum River. The powerhouse, on the lower branch of the Jhelum, will house four 275 MW Pelton turbines.
CWE is required to construct the project on a build, own, operate and transfer basis. The project is scheduled for commissioning in 2023.
The project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 3,000 km-long network of roads, railways and energy infrastructure to assist development in Pakistan and boost growth for the Chinese-border economy.
360 MW Silvermines pumped storage project proposed
A proposal is in place to build a 360 MW pumped storage facility at an abandoned open-cast mining site in County Tipperary, Ireland.
The proposed US$948 million Silvermines project will be developed by Austrian companies Strabag and Andritz Hydro in partnership with Irish construction giant Roadbridge. It will be only the second, but largest, pumped storage project in the country.
The site features a 200 ft-deep reservoir. Work to develop Silvermines includes building a second, new reservoir and installing a 5 m-thick steel pipe to pump water between the two reservoirs and to an underground powerhouse. Underground transmission lines will link with existing 400 kV and 200 kV transmission lines in the area.
Developers are planning detailed feasibility assessments and implementing a consultation program with the local community. After the estimated two-year planning process is complete, the plant could begin generating electricity by 2020.
Federal court suspends Belo Monte operating license
The operating license for Brazil’s 11.2 GW Belo Monte plant was suspended by a federal judge in mid-January.
The ruling will only be lifted if developer Norte Energia and the Brazilian government meet terms of a previous license, which stipulated that a new office Funai – an indigenous population authority – be constructed in conjunction with Belo Monte. In addition, the federal court slapped Norte Energia with a fine exceeding US$220,000.
Budgeted at US$26 billion, Belo Monte is being built on the Xingu River in Para State. Belo Monte has a completion deadline of 2018, although Norte Energia requested a construction extension this past June. Voith Hydro, which is supplying equipment for the project, said the new expected commissioning is 2019.
1,000 MW Linthal pumped storage plant connected to grid
The 1,000 MW Linthal pumped storage plant was synchronized to the grid in mid-January, according to GE Renewable Energy.
The facility, owned by Axpo, is located in the Linthal Valley in eastern Switzerland and uses water pumped from Lake Limmern to Lake Mutt to generate energy. Linthal is an addition to the existing 450 MW Linth Limmern project.
GE provided four 250 MW variable speed generating units, and the Linthal pumped storage plant will now undergo a series of tests before it enters commercial operation later this year.
Uniper launched to focus on conventional generation, including hydropower
E.ON separated its operations from Uniper’s effective Jan. 1, finalizing a business transition more than a year in the making.
Uniper is a new company that will operate from its headquarters in Dusseldorf, focusing on power generation from hydro, natural gas and coal facilities, as well as global energy trading. The company has about 40 GW of generating capacity. E.ON’s website indicates hydro makes up nearly 5 GW of its generating capacity (which was almost 59 GW before the split).
The E.ON website says it has “major asset positions in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Russia, the U.S., Italy, Spain, France and in the Benelux countries.” E.ON will now focus on renewables (not including hydro), energy networks and customer solutions.
E.ON announced in November 2014 that it would respond to the distinctly different challenges of the new and conventional energy worlds by dividing its businesses.
60 MW El Paso project opened
HydroChile S.A. has opened its 60 MW El Paso project, a run-of-river facility on the Las Damas River in Colchagua province.
Principal works at the site include the powerhouse, pump house, water tank, energy dissipation drop structures, surge tank, spillway and access roads.
Total investment in the plant was US$135 million, and the project employed 555 people during its construction phase and will employ 20 workers when operating.
AfDB approves financing for 147 MW Ruzizi 3 plant
The African Development Bank has approved at least US$138 million in financing for the Ruzizi 3 hydropower project.
The 147 MW run-of-river plant, to be located on the Ruzizi River between the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is part of AfDB’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa that also benefits Burundi.
Ruzizi 3 will be the third in a cascade that also includes the 29.8 MW Ruzizi 1 and 43.8 MW Ruzizi 2 hydroelectric plants.
Estimates project the Ruzizi 3 facility’s total cost at exceeding $625 million, with more than $50 million being added to AfDB’s funding from the private sector.
The European Investment Bank committed to help coordinate the public/private partnerships required to develop the plants, citing the Ruzizi cascade’s potential impact on more than 100 million people living in Africa’s Great Lakes region.
10.2 GW Wudongde project advances
In news from China, General Electric has been awarded a contract by China Three Gorges Corp. to supply equipment for the 10.2 GW Wudongde hydropower project. The deal, awarded to GE’s Fairfield, Conn., renewables arm, calls for the manufacture and supply of six 850 MW Francis turbine-generators and related equipment. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
The US$15.4 billion Wudongde plant will be China’s fourth-largest hydro facility once completed. The project is one of four being developed by China Three Gorges on the Jinsha River that will have a cumulative capacity of nearly 50 GW.
Construction began in December after China’s State Council gave its final go-ahead. Wudongde will include a 270 m-high dam that will create a 7.4 billion m3 reservoir.
Hydro-Quebec commissions second unit of 270 MW Romaine-1 project
Hydro-Quebec commissioned the second unit at its Romaine-1 hydroelectric generating station in mid-December. The 270 MW Romaine-1 supplied its first megawatts on Nov. 25, with commissioning of the first generating unit, and the second unit began generating power Dec. 13.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and responsible for the Northern Plan and the Cote-Nord region, said: “The commissioning of the second generating unit adds 135 MW to Hydro-Quebec’s generating capacity. Since the start of construction, the project has created significant economic spinoffs. I am delighted that close to [C]$800 million in contracts were awarded to companies from the Cote-Nord region.“
|The 270 MW Romaine-1 plant is operating at full capacity, with commissioning of the second turbine-generating unit in December 2015.|
This is part of a 1,550 MW hydroelectric complex located on the Riviere Romaine. The complex will consist of four hydro stations.
The first generating facility at the complex, Romaine-2, with its 640 MW of installed capacity, was commissioned at the end of 2014. Next in line are Romaine-3 (395 MW) and Romaine-4 (245 MW), slated to go into operation in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
Opening the 150 MW Dong Nai 5 plant
The Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) held a ceremony Dec. 20 to inaugurate the 150 MW Dong Nai 5 plant.
The first turbine-generator unit at this facility was connected to the national grid in September 2015, two months ahead of schedule, with the second operating in November 2015. The facility is expected to generate 600 million kWh of electricity annually.
HydroWorld.com reported in January 2013 that Alstom and the Hydrochina Huadong Engineering Corporation was awarded a US$26.6 million contract to supply the turbines and electromechanical equipment for this project.
Statkraft backs out of building 650 MW Tamakoshi 3
Norwegian utility Statkraft has ceased development of the 650 MW Tamakoshi plant on the Tamakoshi River in Nepal.
Statkraft entered into an agreement with the Nepalese government in 2007 to build the US$1.5 billion plant and had since completed feasibility studies and environmental and social impact assessments. In stopping work, the company cited “a lack of viable power take-off options, lower electricity price forecasts, insufficient transmission capacity for power evacuation and an absence of necessary policies and regulatory framework for operationalizing power sales.”
Commissioning 101 hydroelectric and dam facilities
Turkey will commission 101 new hydroelectric plants and dams worth US$3.44 billion in January, according to information published by Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state-run news agency.
Minister of Forestry and Water Veysel Eroglu said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to simultaneously open 101 hydroelectric projects on Jan. 14, which have a capacity of 2,194 MW and will annually generate 7.4 billion kWh. A comprehensive list of facilities is not available.
|More than 100 new hydro plants and dams were to be commissioned in Turkey in January 2016.|
Turkey has relatively small amounts of domestic energy resources and imports large quantities of natural gas. Eroglu said, “Improving the energy mix and developing local sources of energy is vital for Turkey’s supply security, which means increasing hydroelectricity’s share in the mix as [hydropower] has the highest potential.”
He also said Turkey is using about 55% of its hydropower potential to generate about 25% of the country’s electricity. Eroglu estimates hydropower could contribute up to 80% of Turkey’s energy mix if the country’s full potential is developed. In the event of an energy crisis due to lack of natural gas, Eroglu said Turkey has enough water in its hydroelectric facilities to meet demand.
CWE breaks ground on 550 MW Souapiti hydropower project
China International Water & Electric Corp. (CWE) has broken ground on the 550 MW Souapiti hydropower project in Guinea. The US$1.5 billion project on the Konkoure River will nearly double the country’s power supply when complete.
“This project will allow Guinea to be an energy exporter,” Minister of Energy Cheick Taliby Sylla said during a groundbreaking ceremony in late December.
The energy ministry courted CWE following the Chinese company’s involvement in building Guinea’s 240 MW Kaleta plant.
Studies of Souapiti date back to 1999, and in 2015 the West African Power Pool sought consultants to update a feasibility study and determine the best technical option for development.