World Bank outlines sustainable hydro priorities

Acknowledging a sharp change in direction from the 1990s, the World Bank is emphasizing a growing role for sustainable hydropower to bring both energy and water resources benefits to the developing world.

In “Directions in Hydropower,” a newly issued exposition of the World Bank Group’s views on the value of hydropower, the bank said hydropower now is viewed as an integral factor in addressing energy security, climate change, water security, and regional cooperation.

World Bank lending for hydropower bottomed out in 1999 due to growing opposition from environmental and other non-governmental organizations.

“There are risks inherent in development and operation of hydropower, many of which were the focus of passionate debate in the 1990s,” the bank said.

Three bottom lines: social, environmental, economic

As a consequence, the bank said, the definition of acceptable hydropower has shifted to one that recognizes core principles of sustainable development with attention to social and environmental, as well as economic “bottom lines.” It said the shift has been supported by a decade of better understanding and of developing best practices, safeguards, and self-assessment measures from players including the World Bank, Equator Banks, International Hydropower Association, International Energy Agency, the World Commission on Dams, and the United Nations Environment Program.

New lending for hydropower increased significantly, from less than US$250 million per year from 2002-2004, to US$500 million per year from 2005-2007. In fiscal year 2008, new lending for hydro exceeded US$1 billion. The bank said 67 hydropower projects have been approved since fiscal year 2003, amounting to US$3.7 billion in World Bank Group contributions to support a total of US$8.5 billion and nearly 9,700 MW in project investments.

China bank to finance 1,500-MW Mphanda Nkuwa

The Export-Import Bank of China agreed to finance construction of the 1,500-MW Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectrict project on Mozambique’s Zambezi River.

Mozambique’s O Pais newspaper quoted Energy Minister Salvador Namburete saying construction of the US$2 billion dam is to begin in 2010 in the northern Tete Province. The China Exim bank’s US$2.3 billion loan package also includes funding a transmission line from the dam site to Maputo, the capital.

A detailed proposal for construction of Mphanda Nkuwa boosted the capacity of the proposed project to 1,500 MW from 1,300 MW in 2007. Additionally, the project is seen potentially expanding to 2,400 MW.

“We expect the process to be finalized by December this year and construction should begin between April and May next year,” Namburete said.

The project is being developed by Brazil construction firm Camargo Correa, national utility Electricidade de Mocambique, and Energia Capital.

Asian bank rates Mekong energy aid

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) rates as “successful” its aid program to the energy sector in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) of Southeast Asia, including assistance to major hydroelectric projects in the region.

ADB issued an assessment of its aid to the energy sector program of the GMS, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and provinces in southeastern China.

“The evaluation found that ADB’s GMS energy program has resulted in significant economic benefits to the participating countries,” ADB said. “An important apparent benefit of the GMS energy program has been the demonstration effect. There is clear evidence that investor confidence in undertaking power export projects in the region has risen strongly in recent years.”

The bank said total energy investment costs under the GMS program are US$1.7 billion, 17 percent of the total GMS project costs of US$10.3 billion. It said, to date, ADB has provided US$185.4 million additional and concessionary assistance for the GMS energy sector, of which 95 percent is loans and the remainder is technical assistance grants.

Three of the loans financed construction of hydropower projects in Laos aimed at exporting power to Thailand. They include 60-MW Nam Leuk; 210-MW Theun-Hinboun, which is being expanded by the 280-MW Theun-Hinboun Expansion project; and 1,070-MW Nam Theun 2.


Contract Award



Communaute Electrique du Benin (CEB) commissioned Chinese hydropower construction company SinoHydro to build the 147-MW Adjarala hydroelectric project between Togo and Benin on Africa’s Mono River. Work on the 282 million euro (US$389 million) project is to be completed in 45 months.

Bolivia President Evo Morales signed a contract with Italian-led consortium Consorcio Hidroelectrico Misicuni for construction of the 120-meter-tall Misicuni Dam multipurpose project. The consortium is led with 51 percent ownership by Grandi Lavori Fincosit S.p.A. of Italy. Bolivia’s Empresa Nacional de Electricidad and South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp. have agreed to build a 120-MW hydro plant at Misicuni.

Empresa de Generacion Electrica Machupicchu S.A. (Egemsa) awarded a contract to Grana y Montero of Peru to rehabilitate and expand the 107-MW Machu Picchu hydroelectric project in Peru’s Cusco Region to 206 MW. Grana y Montero, the sole bidder, offered a bid of US$148 million. Rehabilitation of Machu Picchu is required due to flood damage in February 1998.

Turkish construction company Dogus Insaat awarded a contract to Continental Manufacturing Co. (MARCO) of the United States to supply engineered conveyor systems for the 528-MW Boyabat hydroelectric project on the Kizilirmak River in Turkey’s Sinop Province. MARCO said it is to supply conveyor systems to transport and place concrete during construction of Boyabat’s 95-meter-tall concrete gravity dam. Boyabat Elektrik Uretim ve Tic Ltd. Sti. was granted permission in 2007 to operate the project for 49 years.

Variable-speed pumped storage for Swiss

A partnership of a Swiss utility and a federal railway awarded a 125 million euro (US$167 million) contract to Alstom to supply the 628-MW Nant de Drance hydroelectric project its first variable-speed pumped-storage power plant.

Swiss energy provider Alpiq, Forces Motrices Valaisannes, and Swiss federal railway SBB are building the 990 million franc (US$950 million) pumped-storage project at Finhaut in the Swiss Alps.

Alstom said it is to supply four 157-MW vertical Francis reversible turbines, four 170-megavolt-ampere vertical asynchronous motor-generators, and other key equipment to the new plant. Alstom said the new installation integrates two state-of-the-art technologies, a conventional pump-turbine and a variable-speed pump-turbine.

The conventional unit pumps water into an upper reservoir during low energy demand and releases it to produce energy during peak times. The variable-speed unit regulates the level of the energy it consumes, contributing to better grid regulation.

The manufacturer said conventional pump-turbines only can operate on a fixed quantity of energy, while variable-speed units can regulate the level of energy they comsume. As a result the variable unit continues to function even at lower energy levels, assuring a steady refilling of the reservoir while contributing to stabilization of the network.

Firm tapped for Ecuador’s 1,500-MW Coca Codo Sinclair

Developer Coca Codo Sinclair S.A. signed a letter of intent with Chinese consortium SinoHydro-Andes JV to complete negotiations for a contract to build the 1,500-MW Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric project on Ecuador’s Coca River.

SinoHydro-Andes and another Chinese group had submitted bids in March to finance 85 percent of the project and to build it in Napo Province. Upon completion, expected in 2014, the US$2 billion, 10-unit project is to use water from the Coca River near the Colombia border.

Coca Codo Sinclair S.A. is a joint venture of Compania de Generacion Termoelectrica Pichincha S.A. (Termopichincha) of Ecuador and Energia Argentina S.A. (Enarsa) of Argentina.

Business News Americas said the letter of intent envisions achieving technical, economic, and legal pre-contract agreements as well as seeking project financing by China’s Export-Import Bank.




Andritz to add 38.5-MW unit to 105-MW Iffezheim

Project operator Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim GmbH awarded a contract to Andritz Hydro to supply electro-mechanical equipment for a new Unit 5, expanding the 105-MW Iffezheim hydroelectric project on the Rhine River.

German utility EnBW, which jointly owns Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim with Electricite de France, had issued several solicitations seeking various equipment to expand Iffezheim.

Andritz said April 29 the 25 million euro (US$33.3 million) order calls for a new 38.5-MW bulb-type turbine-generator with a 6.8-meter-diameter runner. When work is complete in 2011, the unit would increase Iffezheim to 143.5 MW, making it the largest hydropower plant on the Rhine.

The new unit is to increase total project annual generation to 860 million kilowatt-hours from 740 million kWh.

MagEnergy finishing unit rehab at DR Congo’s 1,424-MW Inga 2

Canadian magnesium producer MagIndustries Corp. reports its MagEnergy Inc. subsidiary has nearly completed refurbishment of a 168-MW generating unit of the 1,424-MW Inga 2 hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

MagEnergy has been performing Phase 1 rehab of the project on the Congo River, including emergency repairs to several turbines and refurbishment of the previously non-functioning 168-MW turbine. In a statement of year-end results, MagIndustries said MagEnergy has completed about 90 percent of the work necessary to refurbish turbine G23, the first contract at Inga 2.

“MagEnergy is close to completing its initial Phase 1 refurbishment project and the ➜
sale of the energy generated from that project will make a solid contribution to the company’s results,” MagIndustries said. “Revenues from the sale of 84 MW, representing 50 percent of the fully restored 168-MW capacity, will potentially be generated by late 2009.”

In February 2008, DRC Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga endorsed a proposal by MagEnergy to perform Phase 2 rehabilitation of Inga 2. The estimated US$110 million Phase 2 program would rehabilitate an additional four turbines at eight-unit Inga 2, to restore them to operation over five years.

Alstom to revamp more units of 10,300-MW Simon Bolivar

Venezuela utility CVG Electrificacion del Caroni (Edelca) has awarded a 31 million euro (US$41.4 million) contract to Alstom Hydro for refurbishment of five generators of the 10,300-MW Simon Bolivar hydroelectric project on Venezuela’s Caroni River.

The contract is the fourth awarded to Alstom by Edelca and is part of a complete modernization program to extend the project’s life by 30 years. In 2007, Alstom received an 80 million euro (US$107 million) contract for refurbishment of four turbine-generators.

In the latest contract, Alstom is to refurbish five 630-MW generators in powerhouse 2, including rehabilitation of stators and rotors and the supply of auxiliaries.




Costa Rica approves hydro project concession law

President Oscar Arias signed a new law ensuring the participation of private companies in the development of hydropower projects in Costa Rica.

Arias signed the framework law on concessions for the utilization of hydropower during an April meeting of Costa Rica’s governing council. The measure previously was approved by Costa Rica’s assembly.

The president’s office said the law ensures the participation of private enterprise in hydropower generation and provides the Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Telecommunications the power to grant concessions up to 25 years. The agency also may extend concessions for another 25 years if developers comply with ministry requirements.

The new law fills a loophole created by legislation in the 1990s that transformed Costa Rica’s previous concession authority, the National Electricity Authority, into utility regulator Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Publicos (Aresep). At that time, the legislation failed to establish a new agency to continue to award hydropower concessions.

Philippines implements renewable energy incentives

Philippines Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes signed rules May 25 implementing legislation to encourage investments in renewable energy including hydropower and ocean energy.

The rules implement the Renewable Energy Act enacted in December, providing tax incentives to investors in hydropower and ocean, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy. Incentives include a seven-year income tax holiday, duty-free importation of equipment, and a zero percent value-added tax rate for power sales.

Although a third of the Philippines’ energy mix is renewable energy, including hydro and geothermal energy, the government plans to increase that to 40 percent over 10 years.

Reyes told a news briefing the government hopes to attract up to US$10 billion in renewable energy investments over the next decade. Local news reports quoted him saying the total renewable potential of the entire country is 200,000 MW, compared to existing generating capacity of 15,000 MW.


Company News


PennWell names Barnes publisher of Hydro Group

PennWell Corporation has named Marla Barnes publisher of its Hydropower magazines and events, including Hydro Review and HRW magazines, the HydroVision and Waterpower conferences and exhibitions, and the electronic news service

Click to EnlargeAt the same time, Dick Rauner was named publisher of PennWell’s North American Renewable Energy Group, of which the Hydropower businesses are a part, along with the Renewable Energy World North America Conference and Exhibition and the newly announced Renewable Energy World North America magazine.

Barnes previously was chief editor of the hydropower publications, which PennWell acquired in December 2008 from Kansas City, Mo.-based HCI Publications Inc. She has 20 years’ experience as an editor and conference organizer in the hydroelectric power industry. She is relocating from Kansas City to PennWell’s headquarters in Tulsa, Okla.

Rauner built Renewable Energy World North America conference

Rauner previously was exhibit and sponsorship sales manager for PennWell’s Renewable Energy World North America conference and exhibition. He grew the show from its inception six years ago to its current position as the leading all-renewables conference and exhibition in North America.

Barnes will report to Rauner, who will continue to report to Richard G. Baker, senior vice president, North America Power Group.

“With Dick Rauner as group publisher and Marla Barnes as publisher, PennWell further strengthens its industry-leading North American Power Group to effectively direct our rapidly growing renewable energy businesses,” PennWell President and CEO Robert F. Biolchini said.

Yangtze Power takes on more of 22,400-MW Three Gorges

China’s Yangtze Power Co., operator of 22,400-MW Three Gorges Dam, is carrying out a 107.5 billion renminbi (US$15.76 billion) restructuring plan that includes acquiring full ownership of the project’s 26 operating units, totaling 18,200 MW.

Yangtze Power said it would issue 1.55 billion shares to its parent, China Three Gorges Project Corp., in a private placement for 12.89 renminbi (US$1.88) each, raising 20 billion renminbi (US$2.9 billion), and pay 37.5 billion renminbi (US$5.5 billion) in cash to acquire assets from China Three Gorges. It also is to take on 50 billion renminbi (US$7.3 billion) in debt.

The assets being acquired include the remaining 18 generating units of the original 26-unit Three Gorges project that Yangtze Power does not already own. The acquisition is to more than double Yangtze Power’s installed capacity and is to increase its 2009 net profit to 6.3 billion renminbi (US$922 million) from last year’s 3.93 billion renminbi (US$575 million).

The plan for Three Gorges originally called for 26 generators, 14 on the left bank of the Yangtze River and 12 on the right for a total of 18,200 MW. The project has since been expanded further, with another six turbines being added by 2012 for a total of 22,400 MW.


Project Development


N.Z. studies four Clutha River hydro options

New Zealand utility Contact Energy invites comments on four options to develop hydropower on the Clutha River ranging from 86 MW to
350 MW.

Contact invited comments on a special Internet site linked to the utility website, Options include 350-MW Tuapeka Mouth, 185-MW Beaumont, 160-MW Queensberry, and 86-MW Luggate.

“Normally, developers select a preferred project upon which they consult with the community,” the Contact website said. “We don’t yet have a preferred option — we want to hear people’s views more generally and on each of the options that we are currently reviewing.”

The utility said it wants people to tell Contact what they think about the possibility for new hydro development and what ideas they might have for possible hydro schemes. It proposes to announce a preferred option in 2010, leading to further discussion of a more clearly defined proposal.

The four hydro schemes under consideration were inherited by Contact Energy from its predecessor, Electricity Corp. of New Zealand.

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Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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