Small Hydro

Nordic Investment Bank announces $163 million loan for development

An agreement between the Nordic Investment Bank and Sparebank 1 SMN worth more than US$163 million will encourage small hydropower development in Norway.

The loan program finances new construction and upgrades of Sparbank 1 SMN’s hydro projects — most of which have installed capacities of 1 to 5 MW.

“This loan is in line with our target to approach small and medium enterprises with long-term financing through banks,” says Henrik Normann, NIB president and chief executive officer. “Hydroelectric power is a clean, renewable energy source and it therefore fits well under NIB’s mandate.”

Construction and upgrades of the projects are scheduled to begin this year and next.

These developments will contribute to energy production in the country, where hydropower is the most-used generating technology. Currently, Norway utilizes energy from more than 550 hydropower plants, with a total generating capacity of more than 28,000 MW.

Dutch company to supply 25 hydropower units to Nepal

Dutch turbine manufacturer Tocardo International has closed a deal to sell 25 of its T100 generating units to Glow Tech Solutions of Nepal.

The turbines will add a total capacity of 2.5 MW to Nepal’s grid once connected.

Installation of these turbines is supported by The Netherlands’ Private Sector Investment program, which has allocated funds to create a joint venture between Tocardo and Glow Tech Solutions. The agreement will potentially create Dutch jobs as production and assembly of the turbines accelerates over the next few years.

“By starting with smaller turbines that are relatively easy to install and maintain, we are quickly developing this new energy source,” says Tocardo Chief Executive Officer Hans Van Breugel.

Glow Tech Solutions is licensed to install turbines with a combined capacity of 10 MW. This is a small but significant contribution to the growing demand for electricity in Nepal, where the potential for hydropower development is considerable due to the mountainous topography and plentiful water sources.

Nepal is hoping to attract more than US$6 billion in hydroelectric development investments to tap into the potential 83,000 MW of capacity in the country.

Nepal's steep mountain ranges and fast-flowing rivers make it a prime site for small hydro development. In fact, turbine manufacturer Tocardo International is supplying 25 T100 units to Nepalese developer Glow Tech Solutions.
Nepal’s steep mountain ranges and fast-flowing rivers make it a prime site for small hydro development. In fact, turbine manufacturer Tocardo International is supplying 25 T100 units to Nepalese developer Glow Tech Solutions.

Report shows potential for global small hydro growth

A report from energy market analyst GlobalData indicates governments around the world are beginning to see the advantages of small hydro development.

According to the report, titled “Small Hydropower (SHP) – Installed Capacity, Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), Competitive Landscape, Opportunity and Key Country Analysis to 2020,” global installed hydropower capacity increased from 896.9 GW in 2006 to 1,072.1 GW in 2011. The report indicates that number is expected to grow to 1,443 GW by 2020, in part due to an increased emphasis on the benefits of small hydroelectric plants as a source of renewable power by governments around the world.

GlobalData’s research indicates many countries are actively seeking ways to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and minimize their carbon footprints, and small hydropower plants have become an attractive solution.

GlobalData says small and mini hydro plants’ effects on both the environment and budgets is less substantial than those of large dams, thereby reducing issues created by deforestation and submergence. The report also notes small plants are quicker to construct and offer higher returns, given the low capital investment required and smaller operational and maintenance costs.

China is noted as the world’s largest small hydro market, accounting for 55.3% — or 59 GW — of global installed small hydro capacity in 2011. India follows with 9%, and the U.S. rounds out the top three with 6.9%. GlobalData forecasts the cumulative small hydro capacity to increase from its current 106.7 GW to 137.8 GW by 2020.

Indian developers plan four small hydroelectric facilities

Four small hydroelectric projects are now in development in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The projects will contribute a combined capacity of 3.4 MW.

Public-private partnership AMR Power Private Limited is developing two hydro projects in Meerut: the 550 kW Kutubpur and 300 kW Dhakauli plants. Oasis Contractors and Private Limited will develop two plants in Bulanshahar: 760 kW in Akbarpur and 1.8 MW Betwa-1 in Jhansi.

If they are approved by the Uttar Pradesh Energy Task Force and State Cabinet, all four hydropower facilities will be operational by 2016.

Ecuador developer seeking to build 3.96 MW Chorrillos

Local developer Hidrozamora E.P. is preparing to construct the powerhouse of the 3.96 MW Chorrillos project on Chorrillos Stream in Ecuador’s Zamora Chinchipe Province.

Hidrozamora, which is owned by the municipality of Zamora, plans to construct the plant at the confluence of Chorrillos Stream with the Zamora River.

Hidrozamora intends to hire a company to provide civil construction of the powerhouse, a diversion bifurcation, and supply and installation of electromechanical equipment including a horizontal Pelton turbine-generator unit, a substation, fire protection system and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The work is to require 480 days with a budget of US$3.2 million.

French operator to build 700 kW Sauveterre plant

Compagnie Nationale du Rhone (CNR) is working to hire companies to equip the 700 kW Sauveterre plant and construct a fish passage structure on France’s Rhone River.

CNR owns 18 hydroelectric plants on the Rhone ranging from 40 MW to 400 MW, with a total combined capacity of 2,937 MW.

This work on the Sauveterre facility will be performed in two lots, one building the fish passage structure and the other supplying a 700 kW propeller turbine, synchronous generator and other equipment. A separate lot is planned for civil engineering and earthworks.

Installation of a fish passage is included in the construction plans for Sauveterre.
Installation of a fish passage is included in the construction plans for Sauveterre.

RusHydro, Kazakhmys sign development deal

Utilities RusHydro and Kazkhmys have signed a tentative deal that would see the Russian energy conglomerate construct up to 300 MW worth of small hydro plants in Kazakhstan.

“Kazakhstan needs further investment in its power sector in order to maintain adequate and reliable supplies and assist economic growth,” says Kazakhmys official Oleg Novachuk. “Currently, just 10% of Kazakhstan’s power is generated from hydro plants, with nearly 90% coming from coal-fired stations.”

Despite its low installed capacity, Kazakhstan has considerable potential for growth thanks to the strong interest of regional leaders in small hydroelectric power development and private investors.

The companies say they expect to finance 30% of the project costs, with the remainder coming from external loans.

“The combination of RusHydro and Kazakhmys brings a balance of knowledge and skills which should deliver a successful and profitable outcome,” Novachuk says.

Wave of hydro investment in pipeline for Scotland

Industry leaders predict that a green energy support scheme review could unlock millions of pounds of investment in smaller-scale hydro projects in Scotland.

The British Hydropower Association says investment schemes are on hold by landowners and investors while the UK government considers changes to rates paid under the feed-in tarriff (FiT) support scheme. This scheme provides guaranteed financial returns from investment in renewable energy projects.

An announcement on the outcome of the review of the FiT scheme is expected shortly.

SmartestEnergy, the UK’s leading purchaser of electricity from independent generators, estimates that £5.1 million has been paid to hydro projects in Scotland under the FiT scheme over the past year.

Of that amount, SmartestEnergy contributed “more than £2.8 million, which highlights the potential of the technology to provide a valuable income stream from a natural resource,” said Iain Robertson, the Glasgow-based deputy head of generation for SmartestEnergy.

David Williams, chief executive of BHA, said the latest figures underlined the importance of the outcome of the FiT review to provide long term confidence for investors.

“These figures demonstrate the contribution small-scale hydro power is already making to landowners, businesses and communities in Scotland, which is home to an estimated 90% of the UK’s hydro resource,” he says. “We believe that if the uncertainty over future FiT rates was removed, that would unlock a significant amount of fresh investment in hydro. Many potential schemes have been in limbo for more than 18 months as lenders won’t give them the financial backing they need until things are clearer.”

A review of green energy support schemes in Scotland may lead to an increase in development of small hydro projects, such as the one pictured here.
A review of green energy support schemes in Scotland may lead to an increase in development of small hydro projects, such as the one pictured here.

SmartestEnergy’s hydro customers in Scotland include the Conaglen estate near Ardgour in the Highlands where owners Broadland Properties have built and commissioned three run-of-river schemes.

The schemes, ranging from 250 kW to 1 MW, provide about 40% of the power needs of the 40,000 acre West Coast estate, with the remaining electricity exported to the grid.

Nicaragua to study small hydro potential in two river basins

Nicaragua’s electric utility plans to hire a consultant to perform an initial assessment of small hydropower potential in two river basins.

With funding from international lenders for a national program for sustainable electrification and renewable energy — called Programa Nacional de Electrificacion Sostenible y Energia Renovable (PNESER) — the Ministerio de Energia y Minas will hire consultants to collect, integrate and analyze information to identify the best sites for small hydropower development in the Rio Grande de Matagalpa and Coco River Superior basins.

Information to be collected includes hydrometeorological, geological, geotechnical, social, economic, and environmental data that has been generated in recent years for the basins under study. The consultant is to identify the best sites for hydroelectric development of at least 2.5 MW, as well as any socioeconomic constraints on development. Some expedited field reconnaissance might be required.

The work is to be performed over five months with a budget of US$1 million.

Briefly … h2ope Water Power Enterprises has partnered with Saddleworth Community Hydro Ltd. to construct England’s first community-owned high-head hydro facility. Construction is set to begin in spring 2013 on a 51 kW turbine. … Hydro Trans Antartic Energia has submitted an environmental impact assessment to Chile’s Servicio de Evaluacion Ambiental for a 6.7 MW project on the Heunteleufu River in the southern part of the country. The run-of-river facility is expected to cost US$16 million, and work is to begin by November 2013. … Hydrohrom s.r.o. has been awarded a contract worth US$527,420 by RenoEnergie a.s. for work at the Czech Republic’s Plzen-Hradste plant on the Uhlava River. Hydrohrom will supply a turbine-generator and ancillary equipment for the project.

For more small hydro news, see the Hydro Project Activity tab at

Previous articleWhy Every Solar Company Should Have a Blog
Next articleEco-friendly Farming: Sowing the Seeds of Renewable Energy
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.

No posts to display