Small Hydro

Issue 1 and Volume 19.

Zambia’s REA to explore three small hydro plants

Zambia’s government is working on feasibility studies and engineering design for three small hydro projects in the Northwestern Province.

The country’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) will hire consultants for the work under a World Bank-funded program to increase access to electricity services. Work will involve carrying out feasibility studies and detailed engineering design of the 500 kW Kasanjiku and 3 MW Chikata Falls stations in Kabompo District and 700 kW Zengamina 2, which is the second phase of the recently built 700 kW Zengamina project in Mwinilunga District.

In each case, selected consultants are to assess the projects and, if they are determined feasible, produce detailed engineering drawings and bid documents, and assist in bid evaluation. There also is potential, under later contracts, for the consultants to supervise civil works, supply, installation, testing, and commissioning of the projects.

Uruguay has close to 300 MW in small hydro potential: report

About 276 MW of potential small hydro capacity exists in Uruguay, according to a study released by the country’s energy and mining ministry.

The study found that the 50 best sites for plants with less than 10 MW capacity showed a total potential of 101 MW, wires services report. Slightly larger projects, between 10 MW and 15 MW, showed potential of 176 MW.

The country’s power matrix is dominated by large hydro, which makes up 61% of total power capacity, and currently does not receive any power from mini hydro plants, according to reports.

Authorities aim to have 50% of the country’s electricity demand to come from clean sources by 2015.

RenoEnergie developing two projects in Czech Republic

Hydro developer RenoEnergie a.s. is working to develop the Klastersky project on the Otava River and the Doudlevce project on the Radbuza River.

Currently, the developer is seeking firms to supply turbines and other equipment for the projects, working in concert with construction contractors. The work at Klastersky is valued at between US$343,500 and $572,500. The work at Doudlevce is valued at between $401,000 and $744,700.

RenoEnergie also is developing the 2.65 MW Lovosice-Pistany 1 project, with Mavel a.s. supplying turbines and related equipment.

Registry of small hydro sites to be developed for Montenegro

Montenegro’s Ministry of Economy plans to develop a registry of potential small hydro sites in 13 municipalities of central and northern Montenegro.

With a budget of some €270,000 (US$353,000), the new registry project is being funded by the Czech Republic Official Development Assistance Fund, under the auspices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

A consultant will prepare a registry of small rivers and potential hydro plants of less than 1 MW each within the territory of 13 municipalities — Kolasin, Mojkovac, Bijelo Polje, Berane, Zabljak, Pljevlja, Andrijevica, Plav, Rozaje, Savnik, Pluzine, Niksic, and Danilovgrad — which had approached the EBRD seeking support to develop the registry.

Only 17% of Montenegro’s hydro capacity has been utilized, mostly for large plants. While the ministry is responsible for issuing hydro licenses, it is the responsibility of municipalities to issue concessions for licensed sites.

The consultant is to identify and analyze streams, conduct hydrological studies, determine possible project locations, prepare the registry, and disseminate findings through a stakeholder workshop. The work, which began in January 2011, is expected to take 12 months.

Desarrollos Hidroelectricos gets San Andres extension in Panama

Panama’s public services regulator Asep has granted Desarrollos Hidroelectricos a 12-month extension to begin construction of the San Andres project.

The additional time was granted due to project changes, including site relocation and an increase in capacity to 12.8 MW from an initially planned 8.8 MW.

Desarrollos Hidroelectricos picked up the 50-year concession in 2008 and now has 48 months to complete works and begin operations.

San Andres will use water from the Cana Blanca River and the Paja stream.

Maldie Burn project approved in Scotland

A new small hydro project has been granted construction approval by the Scottish government.

The hydro scheme on the Maldie Burn, near Kylestrome, will create about 25 jobs during construction, its developers say.

In June 2009, RWE Npower Renewables Ltd. submitted an application for consent for a hydro station at Maldie Burn, near Kylestrome on the Reay Forest Estate in Sutherland with an installed capacity of 4.5 MW.

Czech firm working to refurbish 400 kW Kolin

MVE Kolin s.r.o. is planning to refurbish the 400 kW Kolin project on the Elbe River in Kolin, Czech Republic. The company is seeking reconstruction of the Kolin plant, including the complete replacement of equipment and related structural modifications.

The contract, apparently valued at CZK80 million (US$4.2 million), would be executed by a general contractor or on a turnkey basis, MVE Kolin says.

Epsa unveils new Amaime plant in Colombia

Colombian hydropower generator Epsa has unveiled its 18.8 MW Amaime run-of-river plant in the country’s Valle del Cauca department.

Investing some COP90 billion (US$47.5 million) in the Amaime project the firm also owns the 120 MW Miel and 40 MW Alto Tulua and Bajo Tulua projects. Alto Tulua and Bajo Tulua are both expected to begin operating in 2011.

Czech developer to construct 750 kW Velky Osek

Developer MVE Velky Osek s.r.o. is working to build a powerhouse for the 750 kW Velky Osek project located in the Czech Republic.

This work will involve construction of a powerhouse and switchyard at the existing Velky Osek weir and lock that eventually is to house three 250 kW Kaplan turbine-generators.

The developer estimates the maximum cost of the project to be CZK150 million (US$7.8 million). The work is to be performed between February 2011 and August 2012.

Test operations authorized for Caju project in Brazil

Brazilian utility sector regulator Aneel has authorized test operations at the 10 MW Caju project, according to regulatory filings.

The plant is in the Brazilian southern state of Santa Catarina and is owned by local power company Energisa.

Test operations were to run for about 60 days, at which time the firm would submit the results to Aneel. After that, full commercial operations were expected to be authorized by the regulator.

Major refurbishment at 14.4 MW Farettes project in Switzerland

Operator Hydro Exploitation SA plans to rehabilitate the two turbine-generators at the 14.4 MW Farettes station in Switzerland’s Vaud Canton.

Hydro Exploitation, which operates the project for Romande Energie, awarded a US$2.75 million contract to EMCH & Berger SA of Switzerland to oversee construction of a new water supply conduit at Farettes. Construction of the new water conveyance from an existing intake to the Farettes powerhouse also is planned, the operator says.

The turbine-generator refurbishment is to include new shafts and pads, rehabilitation of bearing seats, the supply of two Pelton wheels, reconstruction of stators, rehabilitation of rotors, replacement of excitation systems, and related work. Work is to be performed from June 2012 through October 2013.

Farettes has two 7.2 MW Pelton turbines, with average annual generation output of 52.4 GWh.

EIA submitted for newProvidencia project in Chile

Chilean firm Inversiones Herborn has submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to environmental authorities for the 12.7 MW Providencia hydro project.

The firm, an affiliate of generator Hidromaule, plans to invest around US$30 million in the project, which will connect to the central SIC grid, wires services report. Providencia will connect to the existing Lircay substation in the San Clemente municipality via a 9.1 km transmission line.

The developer expects construction to take a year, with operations expected to begin in April 2012.

Yunnan to build 136 small plants over next five years

China’s Yunnan Province plans to invest RMB8 billion (US$121 million) over the next five years to construct 136 small hydro plants, the Yunnan branch of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) says.

With its vast water resources, the province had a total installed hydropower capacity of 24,230 MW as of the end of 2009, according to Yunnan NDRC statistics. The commission noted that hydro accounts for more than 66% of Yunnan’s total installed power capacity.

Brazil adds small hydro plant to Reidi program

Brazil’s mines and energy ministry has added a small hydro project to the government’s special infrastructure development incentives program, known as Reidi, wire services report.

Owned by local utility Copel, the 19 MW Cavernoso II project, in the southern state of Parana, was included in the expanded program.

Reidi provides incentives including a five-year tax holiday on goods and services and is part of the government’s growth acceleration plan known as PAC.

Expansion planned for Jamaica’s 6.3 MW Maggotty

Jamaica Public Service Co. (JPSC) plans to build a 6.3 MW expansion of the 6.3 MW Maggotty project in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica.

Jamaica’s Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) approved the utility’s plan to expand Maggotty in 2008, in response to a government request for renewable energy, including hydropower.

Built in 1959, the Maggotty project accounts for nearly a third of JPSC’s 21 MW of hydroelectric generation, supplied by eight small plants. The expansion is part of JPSC’s strategy to reduce its dependence on oil and includes a new powerhouse, modifications to an existing intake, and replacement of a 2 km wood stave pipeline with 2.3 meter-diameter glass-reinforced pipeline.

China Hydroelectric to acquire 55.4 MW of projects in China

China Hydroelectric Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling interest in 55.4 MW of operating installed capacity in the Fujian province of China.

This acquisition is the first phase of the previously announced “Taiyu Projects” acquisition for a controlling interest in seven operating hydro projects, representing a total of 114.4 MW.

This first phase of the acquisition consists of a controlling interest in five operating projects: a 74% stake in the 16 MW Jinwei and 11.6 MW Jintang plants; 55% in the 10 MW Jinlong facility; and 100% of both the 13 MW Qianling and 4.8 MW Dongguan sites.

China Hydroelectric will acquire this first phase for US$61.3 million, expected to be financed through cash on hand and bank financing. Execution of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including obtaining government approvals.

This first phase of the acquisition, if completed, will represent an addition of 55.4 MW of gross operating installed capacity, or 43.7 MW of net installed capacity, increasing the company’s total gross installed capacity to 548.8 MW, or 532.6 MW of net.

UK project launches commercial operations

Ellergreen Hydro has commenced commercial operations of a small project on a tributary of the Duddon River in Furness, UK.

This £1.5 million (US$2.4 million) project involved building a weir on Logan Gill that feeds water to a 60 cm-diameter buried pipe. The pipe runs downhill 1 km to a barn housing a turbine and other generating equipment.

The project, which began operating in September 2010, is expected to provide enough energy for 1,000 people and will save 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, Ellergreen Hydro says. Good Energy, a ‘green’ electricity supplier in the UK, is purchasing the power generated by the project.

Financed by The Co-operative Bank in Lancashire, UK, the Logan Gill project also benefits from the UK government’s Clean Energy Cashback initiative. This program allows energy suppliers to make regular payments to individuals and communities that generate their own electricity from renewable or low-carbon sources of energy.

Ellergreen Hydro is located in Cumbria, UK, and was founded by Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper plc, a paper manufacturing company, and Charles Crewdson, chairman of renewable energy manufacturer Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon in Kendal, UK.

Website provides forum for micro-hydro discussion

A discussion forum with more than 3,000 members is available for those interested in run-of-river hydroelectric schemes with a maximum installed capacity of 200 kW.

Wim Jonker Klume, a South African expert on sustainable energy and climate change, initiated the moderated discussion forum, which is aimed at allowing the exchange of information on technical and non-technical issues concerning micro hydro. Members can find answers, conference announcements, news, and colleagues at:http://microhydropower.net/mhp_group.


Nicaragua’s Ministerio de Energia y Minas plans to perform pre-feasibility studies of 20 small hydro sites in the Central and Atlantic regions ranging from 200 kW to 1 MW. … Scottish Water plans to enter into five-year framework agreements to build about 30 small projects for a total cost of £10 million (US$15.6 million). Most plants are to be less than 100 kW, with some up to 500 kW. … The government of Pakistan is working to build five small projects on irrigation canal falls in Punjab Province. The projects are the 7.64 MW Marala, the 4.04 MW Deg Outfall, the 5.38 MW Chianwali, the 4.16 MW Okara, and the 2.82 MW Pakpattan stations.

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