Energy Efficiency, Hydropower

Tech Notes

Issue 6 and Volume 21.

New environmental management standards to be released in Wales

Natural Resources Wales plans to release a new approach to the way it assesses water availability for hydroelectric power production in the autumn of 2013. The organization’s board said the new standards on flow availability “will offer a clearer, more straightforward way of assessing the water available for sustainable hydropower consistently across Wales” while also providing additional guidance “to help hydropower developers to develop sustainable schemes.”

“We have used the best scientific evidence to develop an approach suited to the natural environment that we have in Wales,” NRW representative Ceri Davies said. According to NRW, the new guidance will “outline a clear process for developers and provide a clearer indication of the volumes of water they are likely to be able to take for renewable energy generation, aided by a map based screening tool, which will be improved over time as knowledge increases.”

“What this decision means is that we are enabling the energy from our natural water resources to be used, whilst protecting our water environment and other water users,” Davies said. “This, alongside the other work we are doing to help developers, will support the development of sustainable small-scale, renewable energy generation in Wales.”

Alstom completes upgrade of Tianjin hydro technology center

Alstom has completed a US$133.5 million expansion of its manufacturing center in Tianjin, China. Alstom said the upgrade includes a new industrial facility and new production area. The Tianjin site now covers an area of 250,000 m2 and houses about 1,600 employees and 400 engineers.

The company said the new site features 19 heavy machines and two state-of-the-art gantry cranes, allowing Alstom to manufacture as many as 26 turbine and generator units per year. Energy efficiency was also an emphasis in the facility’s design, with the new workshop representing an annual CO2 reduction of more than 10,000 tonnes.

“The inauguration of the Tianjin site represents a key milestone for Alstom’s development in the country,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kron said. “This world-class factory will allow us to accelerate Alstom’s contribution to China’s sustainable development.”

The company said the plant’s major activities include research and development in mechanics and hydraulics and electrical disciplines for hydro turbines and generators. The site will also allow for scale model tests of Francis and Kaplan turbines.

“Tianjin now offers a full hydropower value chain with a complete array of activities. It will play a pivotal role in the future growth of Alstom in China and the southeast Asia market,” says Jerome Pecresse, president of Alstom’s Renewable Power group. The Tianjin facility has produced parts for a number of Chinese projects, most notably four 800 MW turbines for China’s 6,400 MW Xiangjiaba.

Basler Electric offers guide for hydro generator protection

Basler Electric has released a revised version of its “Generator Protection Application Guide,” which the company developed to “simplify the process of selecting relays and relay systems to protect generators.”

Basler Electric says it used minimal protection as a baseline, then added additional protection for critical and complex applications. Each protective element is then described and “related to protecting against a variety of external or internal faults, or abnormal conditions,” giving users a better understanding of their role within the generator protection system.

Based in the USA the company has manufacturing facilities in the USA, Mexico, China and France.

— The guide can be downloaded for free at

Saab adds to ROV capabilities with Hydro-Lek acquisition

Hydro technology manufacturer Saab Seaeye has recently announced that it has acquired UK-based Hydro-Lek Limited in an effort to strengthen the company’s product portfolio of remotely operated, autonomous and hybrid underwater vehicles.

Saab Seaeye, a wholly-owned subsidiary of defense and security company Saab, manufactures a number of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that have applications in the hydroelectric power and dam sectors.

The company said its acquisition will allow it to take advantage of Hydro-Lek’s “unique tooling capability to further increase its presence in the commercial ROV market as a complete underwater ROV supplier” given Hydro-Lek’s 20 years in the industry.

“We see a clear synergy between the two companies as manipulators and tools are key components in the design and function of underwater vehicles,” Saab Seaeye Managing Director Jon Robertson said.

Hydro-Lek in Finchampstead Berk-shire, England, will operate as a fully-owned subsidiary of Saab Seaeye.


Voith Hydro says new investments in its research and development efforts will allow it to expand its line of HyCon automation systems. The company says the expansion will allow for the development and improvement of the HyCon line of voltage regulators and excitation systems, speed governors, supervision and control systems, and monitoring systems in Sao Paulo, Brazil. HyCon systems have been installed in many Latin American projects, including Amoya, Confluencia, Palomino and Salto Pilao.

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