World Bank ups renewables support

The World Bank Group announced it increased funding for renewable energy including hydropower and for energy efficiency by 87 percent in the past fiscal year. The bank said total commitments for the year ending June 30, 2008, reached nearly US$2.7 billion. The bank said commitments by the World Bank Group, including Carbon Finance operations and the Global Environment Facility included: US$476 million for new renewable energy including hydro projects up to 10 mw; US$1 billion for hydropower projects of more than 10 mw each; and more than $1 billion for energy efficiency. The World Bank considers hydropower, regardless of scale, to be renewable energy. For reporting purposes, hydropower projects of more than 10 mw are reported separately from other renewables. The renewable energy and energy efficiency investments made up 35 percent of total bank group energy commitments for the year, with 95 projects in 51 countries plus two cross-border projects.

Asian bank approves India hydro funds

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved an US$800 million, eight-year hydropower loan package to India’s Himachal Pradesh State, including first-tranche financing of the 111-mw Sawra Kuddu and 65-mw Kashang 1 hydropower projects. ADB lent the money under the MFF (Multi-Tranche Financing Facility) Himachal Clean Power Development program. ADB said the four run-of-river projects to be developed totaled 856 mw: 111-mw Sawra Kuddu on the Pabbar River; 243-mw Integrated Kashang (including Kashang Stages 1-3) on the Kashang River; 100-mw Sainj on the Sainj River; and 402-mw Shongtong Karcham on the Satluj River. ADB and Himachal Pradesh identified Sawra Kuddu and Kashang 1 as two projects ready for financing through the first loan tranche of US$150 million.

Brazil to auction eight projects

A Brazil energy official says the government plans to launch concession auctions for eight hydroelectric projects in 2009. State-run Agencia Brasil said Secretary-Executive Marcio Zimmerman of Brazil’s Ministerio de Minas e Energia outlined the projects to be auctioned during an October electric sector conference in Rio de Janeiro. Projects include the 11,182-mw Belo Monte project on the Xingu River and the 80-mw Barra do Pomba and 50-mw Cambuci projects on the Paraiba do Sul River in Rio de Janeiro State. Zimmerman said the government also plans to auction concessions to build five hydro plants totaling 430 mw, on the Parnaiba River in northeastern Brazil. He said the energy ministry also plans concession auctions in 2010 for projects on the Tampajos and Teles Pires rivers.

Scotland foresees 1,019 new hydros

A report for the government of Scotland finds potential to develop 1,019 financially viable hydropower projects totaling 657 mw. The Scottish Hydropower Resource Study was developed for the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland by the Scottish Institute of Sustainable Technology, Nick Forrest Associates, and Black & Veatch Ltd. The study evaluated 60 separate rainfall catchments across Scotland, calculating flow patterns, sizing hydroelectric equipment to suit locations, and considering options for run-of-river operation, multiple intakes, and storage dams. “While we are unlikely to see much in the way of further large-scale developments, it is clear there is huge untapped potential – and a sustainable and profitable future – in smaller and micro-hydro schemes,” Scotland Energy Minister Jim Mather said. The Scottish government has set a target of generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Post-war aid to Georgia includes hydropower

The United States announced at least US$1 billion in aid to help Georgia rebuild after its conflict in August with Russia over the separatist enclave of South Ossetia. Georgia’s government seeks US$1 billion to US$2 billion in assistance to repair and develop infrastructure, including aid for hydropower projects. Norway agreed to provide 235 million kroner (US$302.5 million) to Georgia including assistance for hydropower development. “Facilitating socially and environmentally sustainable development of the country’s hydropower resources can give an important boost to Georgia’s economic development, and this is a field where Norway has particular expertise,” Norway Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said. A German lender is recruiting consultants to help expand Georgia’s transmission system, called a pre-condition for development of Georgia’s hydropower resources.

Peru to offer 15 hydros of 19,285 mw

The head of Peru’s private investment agency announced 15 hydropower projects totaling 19,285 mw are being prepared for investment offerings. Executive Director David Lemor Bezdin of Agencia de Promocion de la Inversion Privada (ProInversion) told a congressional commission that the projects range from 220 mw to 7,550 mw. He said some of the projects have been turned over to ProInversion by the Ministerio de Energia y Minas, while others are still in process. Peru’s government-owned news agency, Andina, listed the 15 projects: 915-mw Balsas, 600-mw Chadin 2, 444-mw Chaglla, 825-mw Cumba, 800-mw Cuquipampa, 220-mw Guitarra, 1,355-mw Ina 200, 286-mw Man 270, 7,550-mw Manseriche, 1,379-mw Paquitzapango, 1,525-mw Rentema, 1,074-mw Sumabeni, 620-mw Tambo P. Prado, 942-mw Urub 320, and 750-mw Vizcatan.

World Bank seeks hydro rehab case studies

The World Bank plans to compile case studies of hydropower rehabilitation to examine success factors, major barriers, and complexities in hydro rehabilitation investment. “While rehabilitation is not a replacement for new facilities, it does have certain advantages including shorter project preparation and development time, cost-effectiveness, lower risk profile, and the possibility of improving environmental and social conditions,” the bank said. The bank’s International Finance Corp. recruited consultants to focus on good practice rehabilitation projects to identify important lessons, as well as technical, environmental, social, and institutional barriers.

EU allots 1 billion euros to Africa power

The European Union (EU) set aside 1 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) to fund power generation in several African states under a two-year partnership deal with the African Union to enhance investments in the sector. Countries to benefit from the EU financing are to include Senegal, Namibia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the agreement, which runs from 2008-2010, would also promote energy interconnection projects between Africa and Europe. Experts say Africa needs to spend an estimated US$560 billion by 2030 to generate an additional 260,000 mw of power.

Ecuador rejects Odebrecht bid to end dispute

Ecuador President Rafael Correa rejected an offer by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to end a dispute over the 230-mw San Francisco hydroelectric project that resulted in the Ecuador government’s seizure of Odebrecht projects in progress. Correa expelled the firm from Ecuador in September and sent troops to seize US$800 million worth of projects being carried out by Odebrecht, including an airport, two hydroelectric plants, and an irrigation project. Correa also threatened to not pay back a US$200 million loan from Brazil linked to Odebrecht. Correa accused the company of having built the dam poorly. San Francisco was completed in 2007, but is not functioning because of damaged machinery. The company offered to comply with the government’s demands for reimbursement of damages in a last ditch effort to keep its contracts with the government. “We have analyzed the terms and we believe it’s not possible to continue with the company,” Strategic Sectors Minister Galo Borja said. “This (offer) was only a small part; the damages and their (company) debt are much bigger.” On September 28, Correa won a referendum on a new constitution, clearing the way for him to extend the state’s grip over the economy, install leftist reforms, and seek re-election.

Nepal republic proposes 10,000 mw of hydro

Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai presented the annual budget of the new republic of Nepal, establishing as a priority the development of 10,000 mw of new hydropower in the next ten years. The budget of Nepal’s Maoist-led coalition is the first since the tiny mountain nation voted to replace its 239-year-old monarchy with an elected constituent assembly. Bhattarai told the assembly that the government hopes to attract large-scale investment to the poverty-stricken country, with a high priority on construction of infrastructure. “Specifically, production of 10,000 mw of hydropower in the next ten years and irrigation of the Terai’s and Hill’s large valleys and fields through the diversion of major rivers are the original program features of this budget,” he said. He proposed 12.69 billion rupees (US$170.8 million) in spending for the power sector, an increase of 113 percent from the year before.

Nile ministers advance regional power trade

The energy ministers of Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) countries resolved to advance NBI’s Regional Power Trade Project toward preparation of a basin-wide power development study. Ministers responsible for electricity of the Nile Basin countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda – convened for the Nile Basin Energy Ministers Conference in Tanzania. They reviewed the progress of the World Bank-funded Regional Power Trade Project. Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda called for a concerted basin-wide effort to harness the basin’s abundant resources for joint use. The prime minister said collective action would minimize costs and result in effective utilization of limited expertise in the region.

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