World News


Sao Paulo might limit water access amidst ongoing drought

Residents of the world’s 12th-largest city are being warned that their access to water might be limited to just two days per week as Brazil’s drought continues to strain the South American country.

The drought — which is Brazil’s worst since the government began keeping records in the 1930s — has nearly emptied reservoirs across the country, particularly in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo. In this area, low water levels have also forced operators to deactivate a number of hydroelectric power plants.

Now, Sao Paulo officials told the New York Times in mid-February, water might be cut off as many as five days per week, leading some people to speculate whether the city’s population of more than 20 million might be urged to flee. Hydroelectric generation accounts for more than 70% of the country’s total electrical output capacity.


World Bank releases Alstom from debarment

The World Bank Group has removed Alstom SA from debarment after the bank’s Integrity Compliance Office determined that the company has fulfilled the conditions for its release.

Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG of Switzerland and their affiliates were debarred on Feb. 21, 2012, for three years after Alstom acknowledged misconduct in relation to the bank-funded Zambia Power Rehabilitation Project. According to the World Bank, Alstom made an improper payment of about US$126,000 to an entity controlled by a former senior government official for consultancy services related to the project.

The debarment was part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement between Alstom and the World Bank that included restitution totaling about $9.5 million to be made by the two companies. In addition, Alstom SA, the two named companies and their affiliates committed to cooperating with the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency and continuing to improve their internal compliance program.

The debarment meant Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz were also considered cross-barred by other multilateral development banks under 2010’s Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments. Other member financial organizations include the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Inter-American Development Bank Group.


Design, construction to proceed on 3,600 MW Rogun project

The agency developing the 3,600 MW Rogun project is working to hire companies to design and construct Rogun on Tajikistan’s Vakhsh River.

Construction began on Rogun in 1980 but stalled at the end of the Soviet era. It is among about 10 projects in the Vakhsh River Cascade.

The project includes a 335 meter-tall embankment dam, hydraulic tunnels of 1,100 to 1,500 meters, an underground powerhouse with six units, balance of plant and auxiliary equipment. A consortium of Tractebel Engineering France (Coyne et Bellier) and ELC Electroconsult Italy is providing technical assistance to project developer OJSC Rogun HPP.

OJSC Rogun HPP says work on the plant will be carried out under four engineering-procurement-construction contracts:

  • Lot 1: Supply, installation and commissioning of electromechanical equipment, four units of 600 MW each;
  • Lot 2: Construction of the main dam;
  • Lot 3: Construction of right bank structures, hydraulic tunnels and spillways, stabilization works and hydro-mechanical equipment;
  • Lot 4: Construction of left bank structures, underground structures, headraces, powerhouse and tailrace and hydro-mechanical equipment.


Celsia receives environmental license for 325 MW Porvenir 2 plant

Colombian power company Celsia S.A. has received an environmental license for the 325 MW Porvenir 2 plant.

The license, granted by the Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales, allows for the construction and operation of the hydroelectric project, which is to be located in Colombia’s Antioquia Department.

Porvenir 2 was originally scheduled for completion in 2017, although Celsia said it now anticipates commercial operations to begin in December 2018.


Work to advance on 1,410 MW Tarbela 4 extension, 969 MW Neelum Jhelum development

The Pakistani government has committed to spending US$51 million to expedite completion of the 1,410 MW Tarbela 4 plant by seven months.

The plan was unveiled in mid-February and is expected to push the completion date up to June 2017, ahead of Pakistan’s high water season, according to authorities from the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). Tarbela 4 is an extension of the 3,478 MW Tarbela plant on the Indus River. The World Bank is reportedly providing $840 million of the extension’s $928 million price tag.

The 3,478 MW Tarbela plant is being expanded with the 1,410 MW Tarbela 4 powerhouse, expected to be complete by June 2017.

In other related news, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development is providing an additional US$32 million for the 969 MW Neelum Jhelum plant in Pakistan. The agreement adds to a previous $42 million loan from the fund and gives WAPDA a total of about $1.1 billion in funding.

The run-of-river plant, to be located on the Neelum River, was originally scheduled to begin generating power this year, although now WAPDA says the first units might not be commissioned until 2016.


Turbine contract awarded for 600 MW Karuma project

Sinohydro has awarded Alstom a US$65 million contract to provide equipment and technical services for the 600 MW Karuma plant.

The project will be located on the Victoria Nile River about 15 km downstream of Karuma Falls. The Karuma project will be the largest power plant in Uganda and will provide about 50% of the country’s energy once complete.

Alstom is to provide six 100 MW Francis turbine-generator sets and related equipment, with Alstom Hydro China being responsible for its design, manufacture and supervision in installation, commissioning and testing.


32 MW Bonyic plant begins commercial operations

Panama’s 32 MW Bonyic plant has entered into commercial operation, according to a release in mid-February from utility company Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM).

The US$314 million project is located on the Teribe River in Bocas del Toro province and will eventually house three Francis turbines, the remaining two of which are expected to come on line as HRW – Hydro Review Worldwide goes to press.

Bonyic is being developed by EPM subsidiary Hidroecologica del Teribe S.A., which will sell electricity to unnamed Panamanian distributors under a 15-year power purchase agreement.

Colombia-based EPM said it will use the international experience gained by working in Panama to “capitalize to apply in other countries”

Hydroecologica del Teribe received up to $52.1 million in debt financing for the project from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and Corpoacion Interamericana para el Financiamento de Infaestructura S.A. The group also received a $20 million commitment from EPM.


US$100 million credit continues development on Irrawaddy River

Some of the 20 planned hydropower plants for Myanmar (formerly Burma) will be constructed within the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady in Burmese) River Basin, according to the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power (MOEP).

Myanmar has numerous hydro projects in development, but last December it received a US$100 million credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association after forming administrative apparatus in the public, private and scientific sectors to manage and develop the Irrawaddy River Basin.

Part of the World Bank credit will be used for feasibility studies on hydroelectric infrastructure, the government says.

Irrawaddy is Myanmar’s largest river and most important commercial waterway. The World Energy Council estimates the hydropower potential of Myanmar’s four main rivers — Irrawaddy, Thanlwin, Chindwin and Sittaung — at 100,000 MW, but said that less than 10% of the potential has been harnessed.

MOEP says its total installed capacity is 3,735 MW. And of that, 20 hydroelectric plants have a total installed capacity of 2,780 MW.


China voices support for 1,500 MW project in Afghanistan

China’s plans to improve connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan could lead to the construction of a 1,500 MW hydropower plant in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the proposed project would be part of a package that also includes road and rail connections, all aimed at strengthening the region’s economy and political stability.

Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and China met to discuss the proposal in Kabul in mid-February, but did not specify when work on the plant might eventually begin.

Council members and residents in Kunar have previously said they were interested in supporting the project.


Mega First to develop Don Sahong project

Mega First Corp. Bhd. has signed an agreement with Electricite du Laos to regulate its participation in developing the Dong Sahong project on the Mekong River. Per the agreement, Ground Roses Ltd., Silver Acreage Ltd. and EDL would hold 79%, 1% and 20% shares in the Don Sahong Power Company Ltd., respectively. The company will operate as a unit under Mega First.

Power generated by the plant, to have a capacity between 240 MW and 360 MW, is to be primarily sold to Laos and possibly Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, with rights to be transferred to the Laotian government upon its termination.


Pà¶yry receives consulting contract for 400 MW Lower Se San 2

Pà–yry has been awarded a consulting assignment for the construction of Cambodia’s 400 MW Lower Se San 2 plant. Awarded by developer Hydro Power Lower Se San 2 Company, the assignment includes independent engineering services such as construction monitoring and inspection throughout the building period. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Lower Se San 2 is to be located on the Se San River in the northeastern Steung Traeng province. The plant is expected to begin operation by the end of 2018.

Hydro Power Lower Se San 2 is a joint subsidiary of China’s Hydrolancing International Energy and the Royal Group of Cambodia.

The project is being built as part of Cambodia’s efforts to increase access to electricity. The Cambodian government has instituted a two-part plan to have grid-quality electricity supplied to 70% of households by 2030.


CCI approves US$1.8 billion acquisition of two projects in Himachal Pradesh

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has granted approval to JSW Energy Ltd. to acquire the 300 MW Baspa II and 1,091 MW Karcham Wangtoo projects, both in Himachal Pradesh. JSW said the acquisition would make it “the largest private sector hydropower generator in India,” bringing its “operating hydropower capacity to 1,391 MW.”

Karcham Dam is one of the facilities acquired by JSW Energy Ltd. The dam, previously owned by Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd.

The US$1.8 billion purchase from Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd. (JPVL), according to CCI, is pursuant to a securities purchase agreement entered into Nov. 16, 2014, between JSW, JPVL, Himachal Baspa Power Co. Ltd. (HBPCL) and Jaypee Group Employees Welfare Trust.

In its approval, CCI noted that HBPCL, JSW and its subsidiary JSW Power Trading Co. Ltd. (JSWPTL) are engaged in power generation in India. However, the company’s structure and the amounts of power it would manage are “insignificant” in the committee’s view, when compared with other power producers in India.

“On the basis of installed capacity, the market shares of each of JSW and [Baspa II and Karcham] in the power generation business in India, is insignificant. It is also noted that the vertical relation between JSWPTL and Karcham Project is insignificant,” CCI said.

JSW has an installed capacity of 3,140 MW and is developing an additional 8,630 MW, which includes the US$286 million 240 MW Kutehr project on the Ravi River in Himachal Pradesh that JSW acquired in 2007.

CCI’s acquisition approval allows JSW to advance in achieving its goal of “owning plants that have a total of 12,000 MW of power generation capacity by 2025.”

North America

Budget proposal includes millions for U.S. hydroelectric power, dams

U.S. President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget requests include a number of items for both the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation that could provide significant funding for conventional, pumped-storage, and marine and hydrokinetic power.

The President’s proposal includes more than US$67 million for DOE’s Water Power Program, with funds being split $25.5 million for conventional and pumped-storage hydropower, and $40.8 million for MHK. The funding will also invest 5% of Water Technology Program funding “toward new off-roadmap innovative technologies and solutions that can help meet existing goals but are not represented in a significant way in the current portfolio or technology roadmaps.”

The DOE proposal represents more than $6 million in additional funding for the conventional hydropower program, with a $300,000 dip for MHK from the past fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the budget request includes $1.1 billion for Reclamation, which would “provide robust investments in the safety, reliability and efficiency of America’s water infrastructure and in conservation, reuse and applied science to address the nation’s water supply challenges,” the agency said.


10th Development Plan includes US$16 billion for hydroelectric power

The Turkish government has allocated US$16 billion to developing the country’s hydroelectric power sector through 2018, per Turkey’s recently announced 10th Development Plan.

The country’s state press service, Anadolu Agency, said the $50 billion plan is intended to diversify the country’s power generating portfolio, with allocations for nuclear, coal and natural gas facilities also included.

Turkey’s demand for power is growing at a rate of about 7% per year.


Andritz wins Nuble equipment contract

The Andritz Group has received a contract from Hidroelectrica Nuble to supply electro- and hydro-mechanical equipment for the 136 MW run-of-river Nuble project on the Nuble River in Chile’s Revion VIII region.

The US$57.4 million award includes the supply of two Francis turbines and generators, balance of plant services, control and protection equipment, and intake and diversion gates.

Hidroelectrica Nuble’s parent company, utility Electrica Puntilla S.A., awarded Andritz and Vial y Vives of Chile a $257 million contract to build and equip the $350 million plant.

Electrica Puntilla has six operating run-of-river hydro plants and seven in the development pipeline. President Pablo Jose Perez Cruz said the company expects to increase its hydropower capacity of 74 MW installed and under construction to a total of 500 MW.

Compania General de Electricidad S.A. originally announced plans to develop Nuble.

Russia, South Korea

RusHydro, K-Water sign agreement for joint exploration of projects

JSC RusHydro and the Korea Water Resources Corporation have signed a letter of understanding designed to encourage cooperation in developing hydroelectric power and other renewable energy sources.

The document also says the partners will cooperate in addressing the environmental issues of water usage and that it refers to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of facilities and their financing. RusHydro and K-Water have agreed to consider the joint implementation of projects in Russia, South Korea and other countries, with collaborative efforts to include “research, exchange of technical know-hows in terms of hydropower facilities modernization and other business development.”

The document is valid for two years and may be prolonged.

RusHydro said the two companies will now form a working group responsible for studying potential projects and preliminary terms of financing.


Statkraft moves to take majority interest in Chilean hydro company

European energy producer Statkraft has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Chilean hydropower company Empresa Electrica Pilmaiquen S.A.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement initially includes the purchase of 70.47% of Pilmaiquen’s shares and triggers a mandatory offer to all shareholders. Completion of the deal requires the fulfillment of certain conditions, Statkraft said in a release, including its acquisition of a minimum of 75% of Pilmaiquen’s shares.

“This acquisition strengthens Statkraft’s position in Chile and expands our project portfolio for further growth within international hydropower,” Statkraft executive Oistein Andresen said.

The Las Condes-based company owns and operates the 52.5 MW Rucatayo hydroelectric project, plus rights to develop three others — two of which, the 54.3 MW Osorno and 50.8 MW Los Lagos, are ready for construction.

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