David Appleyard, Chief Editor, HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide
January 11, 2012 | 2 Comments
LONDON -- With power demand in Russia and the neighboring Caucasus region experiencing long-term growth, the pressure is on to secure new sources of sustainable energy. One of the fastest ways of achieving this is repowering and refurbishment of existing hydro facilities.
According to recent figures from the US-based Energy Information Administration, total electricity generation in non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Europe and Eurasia — which covers the region known as the Caucaus and includes parts of Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Iran and Azerbaijan — will grow at an average rate of 1.6% per year, from 1,600 TWh in 2007 to 2,500 TWh in 2035.
EIA's International Energy Outlook 2010 reports that Russia, the largest economy in the region, accounted for about 60% of its total generation in 2007 and is expected to retain about that share throughout the period.
Renewable generation in non-OECD Europe and Eurasia, almost entirely from hydro facilities, is expected to increase by an average of 1.3% per year, largely — the EIA acknowledges — as "a result of repairs and expansions at existing sites, such as reconstruction of turbines in the 6,400 MW Sayano-Shushenskaya plant, which was damaged in an August 2009 accident."
Energy Minister of Russia Sergei Shmatko confirmed at the opening keynote address of the 2011 HydroVision Russia and Russia Power event, which took place in Moscow in March, that electricity consumption in Russia had returned to pre-crisis levels and that demand for 2011 was expected to grow by 2% on 2010 figures.
The energy minister emphasized the importance of Russia addressing the problem of its aging power infrastructure, with 60% of the country's power generation capacity having been in operation for at least 30 years. In the hydroelectric sector, which accounts for 17-18% of generation capacity, that figure jumps to 40 years.
Nonetheless, according to Shmatko, Russia is in the process of conducting a "unique" modernization program of its hydropower assets, with, for example, RusHydro, the country's major hydroelectric generator, expecting to replace all of its obsolete equipment by 2025. This was confirmed by Evgeny Dod, management board chairman of RusHydro and another of the keynote speakers at this conference and exhibition.
Certainly, as far as the Caucasus is concerned, Russia appears to be leading the charge with this type of development. In particular, RusHydro has signed a memorandum of understanding with Alstom Hydro to participate in development of RusHydro's assets, including a decision to consider possibilities of cooperation with respect to the reconstruction and refurbishment of several operating Russian hydro plants, including pumped-storage plants, as well as optimization and maintenance.
As a first case, Alstom and RusHydro have agreed to consider how they could cooperate on modernization of the Kubansky cascade complex in southern Russia. A more detailed look at this project will be provided in a future edition of HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide.
In a related development, RusHydro and Voith Hydro have signed a separate MOU that will also focus on upgrading and re-equipping the utility's hydro plants. The terms of the deal provides for the joint consideration of technical and commercial terms of a long-term contract to supply equipment for RusHydro's generating facilities. Among the work included is almost complete upgrading of the Volga-Kama and Caucasian hydropower plants.
As part of this deal, a contract with Voith Hydro St. Polten for modernization of 1,360 MW Saratovskaya in the Volga-Kama hydropower cascade of southwestern Russia has an order value amounting to €140 million (US$190.8 million). Upgrading the first five Kaplan turbines, each with a diameter of 10.3 meters, is expected to increase capacity of each unit to 68 MW from 60 MW.
Last year also saw RusHydro reveal plans to complete upgrading of the main equipment at its Uglich plant by 2020. As part of the upgrade, RusHydro has already reconstructed a second power unit at Uglich, after which the unit's capacity increased to 65 MW from 10 MW. The upgrade was carried out by Voith Hydro and cost an estimated €34 million ($44.3 million). Repairs and upgrades of the Uglich plant's first unit are now reportedly under way.
Power Machines had previously arranged a partnership with RusHydro for large-scale renovation of hydropower units at Saratovskaya and other projects in the 10 GW Volga-Kama cascade.
Among contracts developed under that umbrella deal is one for the upgrade of four hydraulic units at Volzhskaya on a turnkey arrangement.
Power Machines will design, manufacture, test and supply four hydraulic turbines of 145 MW maximum capacity each within the project to upgrade Units 12, 8, 5 and 20 of Volzhskaya and will also supervise installation and start-up operations. Upon completion, the upgraded Volzhskaya turbines will increase rated capacity to 129 MW from 118 MW, while at the maximum water pressure, capacity will be up to 145 MW, Power Machines says.
The contract's time frame is 2011 through 2013. Commissioning of the first three turbines is slated for the first, second and fourth quarters of 2012. The fourth turbine is scheduled to be put into service in the second quarter of 2013.
Volzhskaya is the largest plant of the Volga-Kama Cascade and the largest in Europe, with a rated capacity of 2.57 GW. The long term program for upgrading and retooling of the complex was implemented in 2005, and the program is expected to be completed by 2020. Eight of the 22 turbines at Volzhskaya have already been replaced. Eighteen of these units have a capacity of 115 MW, two 120 MW, another two 125.5 MW, and one 11 MW. Overall, the upgrade and modernization activities will increase Volzhskaya's rated capacity by 203.5 MW of design value at a total investment up to 2020 amounts estimated at RUB10 billion ($312 million).
The first power unit at the installation began operation in late 1958.
In addition, Power Machines has signed a contract with RusHydro to supply nine units to the 2,300 MW Zhigulevskaya station on the Volga River in Russia, Power Machines says.
The contract, worth RUB11.5 billion ($370.7 million), is part of a program of technical re-equipment and reconstruction of Zhigulevskaya in 2011-2015, which the company says is aimed at accelerating the pace of reconstruction.
As part of the contract, Power Machines will design, manufacture and supply the 129 MW units. It must also partially replace ancillary equipment. Commissioning of the first unit is scheduled for 2013. The new units will increase total plant capacity by about 94 MW, Power Machines reported, with installation of the new units increasing the power rating of each generator by 10.5 MW (from 115 MW to 125.5 MW).
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