Eletrobras plans to boost investment in hydropower
Brazilian state power utility Eletrobras said it plans to boost its investment in some of the country’s largest hydropower and electricity transmission projects.
Eletrobras, Latin America’s largest electric utility, plans to increase investment to 9 billion reais (US$5.1 billion) this year, up from 5.4 billion reais (US$2.96 billion) in 2009. The company will prioritize investments in developing major power projects in 2010, including the 3,300-MW Jirau and 3,150-MW Santo Antonio hydro plants and the Angra III nuclear plant.
The investments to be made this year would go mainly to the Santo Antonio and Jirau hydroelectric power projects and to transmission lines that link Porto Velho in the north of Brazil to Sao Paulo in the southeast.
Iberdrola to invest billions in hydropower
Spanish energy company Iberdrola announced plans to invest 9 billion euros (US$12.2 billion) through 2012 in the development of hydropower projects and other renewable energy sources.
The United States, United Kingdom, and Spain would receive much of the renewables investment, which is part of a broader development plan.
In 2009, the European Investment Bank agreed to lend 300 million euros (US$448.7 million) to the Spanish utility to help finance three pumped-storage projects as expansions of existing hydropower plants.
The company currently boasts a total generating capacity of more than 43,000 MW, with hydropower making up more than 22 percent of that capacity.
By 2012, Iberdrola expects renewables to grow to 28 percent of operating profits.
Statkraft plans hydropower project upgrades in Norway
Norway utility Statkraft will invest more than NOK1 billion (US$168.48 million) on upgrading hydropower facilities and preparing new hydro projects to replace aging plants, the company announced.
Statkraft generates hydropower, wind power, marine energy, solar power, and other renewable energy. In 2009, the company acquired a stake in Singapore-based tidal power company Atlantis Resources Corp.
“These investments will result in more renewable energy, increased security of supply and significant local, regional and national value creation,” said Tron Engebrethsen, Senior Vice President at Statkraft.
China Hydroelectric Corporation to purchase hydro projects
China Hydroelectric Corp. said it will purchase a trio of hydro assets in China’s Yunnan province totaling 78 MW.
China Hydroelectric, a consolidator, developer, and operator of small hydroelectric projects in China, announced that it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire a 44-MW project in Yunnan province. The company announced that it has also entered into memoranda of understandings to acquire two additional operating hydro projects aggregating 34 MW in Yunnan.
Together, these memoranda present China Hydroelectric with the opportunity to acquire an additional 78 MW of generating capacity in Yunnan province.
The definitive agreement provides for China Hydroelectric to acquire the Xiaopengzu project in Yunnan province for US$57 million (RMB 390 million). The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including government approval.
Alstom and Bardella inaugurate manufacturing plant
A joint venture between Alstom and Brazilian firm Bardella has inaugurated a facility in Brazil’s Amazon that will produce equipment for regional hydropower projects.
The facility can support hydropower projects in northern Brazil, plants that will be built in Peru, and proposed projects in Bolivia, Ecuador and Central America.
Currently, the plant is producing floodgates and other equipment for the Santo Antonio hydro plant.
“Brazil is the most promising market in Latin America and our investment will not stop here,” said Philippe Joubert, president of Alstom Power. “In addition to intensive work with plants, we are also investing in wind power plants and alternatives to supplement energy requirements.”
Sinohydro wins rehab contract for Akosombo project
Ghana’s Volta River Authority (VRA) awarded China’s Sinohydro Corp. a US$5.7 million contract for rehabilitation work on cranes and penstocks of the 1,062-MW Akosombo hydroelectric project.
The contract work includes rehabilitation of cranes and rust treatment of cranes and penstocks at the hydro project, which is located on the Volta River.
Ghana received a credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association for the West Africa Power Pool Program to fund the rehabilitation and other work.
In 2009, VRA awarded a 1.9 million euro (US$2.5 million) contract to the Association of Royal Haskoning of the Netherlands and Norplan AS of Norway to carry out emergency preparedness planning for both Akosombo and the 160-MW Kpong hydroelectric project on the Volta River.
Mozambique utility commissions study for linking new hydro projects
Mozambique utility Electricidade de Mocambique awarded Vattenfall Power Consultant and Norconsult AS a contract for the study of a transmission backbone system to deliver power from proposed new hydro and thermal power plants to southern Mozambique.
The contract is valued at about US$3.3 million.
With funding from the World Bank, Mozambique plans develop an integrated transmission system designed to handle increased capacity from several large power projects in Tete Province expected to total 7,000 MW.
Under the recently-awarded contract, the firms are to perform a technical and economic feasibility study for the Mozambican Integrated Transmission Backbone System, called the CESUL Transmission Project. The work will take about 10 months.
Russian firm gets contract for hydropower project in Belarus
Russia’s Technopromexport will construct a new hydro project on the Western Dvina River in Polotsk, Belarus.
The 23-MW project will be financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The contract is worth an estimated US$100 million.
Four hydroelectric power plants are planned for construction on the Western Dvina, with the Polotsk project being the first. The four projects will have a combined installed capacity of about 120 MW.
Ukraine, World Bank sign loan agreement
The Government of Ukraine and the World Bank signed a loan agreement for additional financing for the Hydropower Rehabilitation Project in the amount of US$60 million, World Bank said.
The original loan for the Hydropower Rehabilitation Project in the amount of US$106 million was approved on June 21, 2005, and became effective on Feb. 3, 2006. The main objectives of the program are to improve the reliability, efficiency, and safety of UkrHydroEnergo hydraulic structures and equipment and to improve their environmental performance.
The latter will be achieved through the reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, the installation of nonpolluting turbine runners, and the elimination of oil leaks into Dnipro and Dnister Rivers.
Recently, the first unit of the Dnister Hydroelectric Power Plant — one of the largest pumped-storage hydro plants in the world — was put into operation.
The rehab project will help increase the installed capacity of the Dnipro Hydropower Cascade by about 400 MW and its production by about 500 gigawatt-hours. The project also pioneered the concept of Carbon Financing in Ukraine, as it was the first Joint Implementation Project under the Kyoto Protocol in the country.
The additional financing supports the rehabilitation of three hydroelectric units in the Dniprovska 2 Hydropower Plant and three hydroelectric units in the Kremenchug plant.
Brazil’s Estreito hydro project ahead of schedule for launch of operations
Brazil’s 1,087-MW Estreito hydro plant will launch commercial operations by the end of 2010, government officials said.
The plant had been scheduled to come online in February 2011.
The Estreito project is being built on the Tocantins River on the border between Tocantins and Maranhao states. The project is expected to cost 3.6 billion reais (US$1.97 billion).
Brazilian miner Vale, U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa, construction company Camargo Correa and European utility giant GDF Suez hold stakes in the project.
IHA statement highlights role of hydro in Clean Development Mechanism
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has released a policy statement on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), encouraging governments worldwide to raise the importance of the CDM in their agendas.
The policy statement highlights the importance of hydropower CDM projects in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.
The policy statement also calls for future CDM reform to address the current disincentives to hydropower reservoir projects, which result in missed opportunities for increased climate change mitigation and adaptation, IHA said.
IHA acknowledged that the CDM remains the main global, environmental investment, and credit scheme currently in place to directly mobilize private sector capital for clean development worldwide.
But it is concerned that with no legally-binding international treaty arising from Copenhagen (2009), the long-term future of the CDM is uncertain.
Ethiopia seeks more studies for 1,870-MW Gibe 3
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will seek bids for additional environmental and social impact assessments of 1,870-MW Gibe 3 on Ethiopia’s Omo River.
Salini Costruttori SpA of Italy is building Gibe 3 under a contract with Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. The US$1.75 billion project, 240 kilometers southwest of Addis Ababa, includes a 240-meter-tall rockfill dam, tunnel, distribution and water diversion works, and a powerhouse. Gibe 3 is the third project to be built by Salini in the Omo-Gibe Basin, following 184-MW Gilgel Gibe and 420-MW Gilgel Gibe 2.
EIB pre-qualified consultants in 2009 to review previous work on environmental and social aspects of Gibe 3 and to address areas that had not been covered sufficiently. It said an important element of the study is the downstream and cross-border environmental and social impacts of Gibe 3 on the Lower Omo Delta and Lake Turkana.
China plans hydro projects for rural areas
China’s Yunnan Province plans to invest US$1.2 billion to develop several rural hydropower projects that will have a combined installed capacity of 1,200 MW.
In 2009, 82 hydro projects were built in Yunnan’s rural area.
The government of China plans also to develop 10 small hydropower projects in Hubei Province, using a China Climate Change Framework Loan from the European Investment Bank.
South Korea to help fund hydroelectric projects in Tajikistan
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) plans to allocate US$2.8 million to help fund hydroelectric projects in mountainous districts of Tajikistan.
The Tajik Minister of Energy and Industry and the head of the KOICA office signed an agreement recently for the construction of small hydro plants in the country.
KOICA was founded as a government agency in 1991 to maximize the effectiveness of Korea’s grant aid programs for developing countries by implementing grant aid and technical cooperation programs.
UK seeks hydro developers for Thames River projects
The UK Environment Agency is seeking developers for hydro projects on three weirs on the Thames River.
The hydro projects will generate power while meeting the highest environmental standards, the agency said. Recently, the UK Environment Agency called for expressions of interest for the potential development of projects at Bell near Egham, Sunbury, and Teddington weirs.
Potentially, thousands of small-scale hydroelectric projects could power 850,000 homes and produce 1.5 percent of the UK’s electricity needs, according to a recent UK Environment Agency study.