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Drought Stresses Brazilian Electricity Market

The EIA noted earlier this year that Brazil is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, saying that the lack of water has contributed to electricity blackouts in many parts of the country. Other sources have even suggested that São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, is at risk of running out of drinking water in November, if rationing is not implemented.

According to Sabesp (the company responsible for water services in São Paulo), its Cantareira system—the largest of six reservoirs that supply water to São Paulo—was down to 7.4% of its capacity near the end of September and 5.5% by Oct. 8. Rainfall for the month had totaled less than half of its historical average. The Alto Tietê reservoir hadn’t fared much better with its level at 11.3% by Oct. 8. Although the other four reservoirs had higher percentages, none of them was near 100%.

The lack of rainfall has limited hydroelectric output but offers a big opportunity for other power generators. The EIA says generation from natural gas and other fossil fuels was at record high levels in August, while hydroelectric generation was at its lowest level since July 2005. The trend continued in the first half of September, with hydroelectric generation 16.9% less than during the same period in 2013, according to the Chamber of Electric Energy Commercialization (CCEE), the nonprofit civil association responsible for energy marketing activity in Brazil. It says thermal generation output increased 33% during the period, picking up some of the slack.

Much of Brazil’s power is priced under long-term contracts, but an estimated 25% to 30% is sold on the short-term settlement price differences (PLD) market. The CCEE sets the PLD rate weekly, using two software programs that simulate system operation. The model utilizes weather forecasts, demand projections, and power plant outage schedules, as well as other factors.

During the fourth week of September, the average PLD rate was R$745.91/MWh ($308/MWh). While many factors figure into long-term contract prices, CCEE auction results published earlier this year show that the average price for electricity negotiated in the 13 auctions held since 2004 was R$118.37/MWh ($48.67/MWh).

In the PLD price announcement, the CCEE noted that a few hydroelectric plants—all located in the Amazon rainforest region—were expected to increase generation, which had helped to decrease the spot price from the previous week. The Santo Antonio do Jari hydroelectric plant in northern Brazil was expected to bring its first unit into commercial operation during the week (and it did), and the Jirau plant on the Madeira River in western Brazil was commissioning another of its units. The Tucuruí Dam was also expected to increase generation, even though its reservoir level was at only 44% of capacity.

As a sign of the country’s demand for power to replace hydroelectric generation, the EIA reported that liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been re-exported from Europe (and likely originated in the Middle East or Africa) several times this year, including in late September. Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil and gas firm and the sole importer of LNG to the country, imported a record 2.833 million tons of LNG over the first eight months of 2014. While LNG is important for balancing demand spikes, the majority of natural gas used in Brazil comes from domestic production and pipeline gas imported from Bolivia.

There is hope that the historically rainy season of November to May will improve hydro resources.

—Aaron Larson

A New Day for North American Hydropower?

Often overlooked in the dash toward wind and solar, hydropower remains a major player in renewable generation. But recent trends suggest a shift toward pumped storage and retrofitted generation may be in the works.

Can hydropower get some love?

Even fans of renewable energy can be forgiven for having forgotten about a resource that—up to now—has produced more electricity than wind, solar, biomass, and all other renewable sources combined. Energy sector news is dominated by reports about the latest big solar plant coming online, ever-larger wind turbine models coming on the market, and seemingly never-ending battles over subsidies and credits.

The limited public interest in hydropower is understandable to some extent. Hydro is a mostly low-tech, mostly familiar resource that generally makes waves only of the watery sort. The giant hydroelectric projects of the 20th Century have become part of the landscape in North America, and relatively few more of those are likely to ever get built. Wind and solar have seized not just the headlines but also the generation momentum: The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted in this year’s Annual Energy Outlook that 2014 will be the first year ever in which total non-hydro renewable generation will exceed total hydropower generation.

That’s a crown that hydro may struggle to get back. Total U.S. hydroelectric capacity (including pumped storage) increased about 1.3% between 2002 and 2012, a period in which wind capacity increased more than 1,300% and solar increased nearly 800%.

Hydro has also missed out on a lot of the support given to wind and solar. Focused as many renewable subsidies are on fostering new capacity, many incentives specifically exclude existing hydroelectric generation. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed carbon emissions standards barely mention hydro, leaving several hydro-heavy states feeling left out. Nuclear generation gets a credit to help keep existing plants operational in the face of competition, but existing hydro appears to get nothing. In fact, the EPA didn’t consider hydro at all in calculating several states’ baselines for renewable generation (on the rationale that doing so would disadvantage states with no or limited hydro potential).

Forgotten But Not Gone

But counting hydro out would be a big mistake.

A common misconception is that hydro is “built out” in North America—especially in the U.S.— with nearly all large potential sites already harnessed. In fact, in the U.S. alone there is substantial undeveloped hydroelectric potential, almost as much as is currently used for generation. A study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) released in April 2014 found that there was more than 84 GW of untapped potential nationwide, though this included areas where hydro development is prohibited. When excluding areas that are within or close to National Parks, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and Wilderness Areas, the study found that there was still more than 65 GW of potential capacity that could generate almost 350 TWh annually.

The potential capacity goes beyond greenfield projects. An earlier ORNL report from 2012 found that the more than 54,000 unpowered dams across the U.S. represented substantial opportunities for retrofitting generation at a fraction of the cost—and hassle—of new dams. Though most of these dams are too small or poorly configured, the 600 or so most favorable sites could be retrofitted with a total of around 10 GW of capacity.

The highest potential was found in the Ohio, Upper Mississippi, and Arkansas-White-Red river basins, where many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) navigational locks could be fitted with generation (Figure 1). The study identified 87 such sites with a total 6.9 GW potential. Not surprisingly, most of the untapped generation resources were found in the Midwest and Northeast; relatively little was located in the West.

These numbers are no news to hydropower industry people in the U.S., many of whom are focusing their development efforts on smaller retrofits. “There’s a recognition recently that there is a lot of existing infrastructure out there that we can take advantage of,” Mario Finis, North America energy and industry director and former global director for hydropower and dams for MWH told POWER in an interview.

The biggest attraction, naturally, is the reduced cost of development: With the dam already in place, most of the costs of a comparable greenfield project have already been incurred. Another bonus of these smaller projects is that they can provide relatively inexpensive support for intermittent renewables (see “Small Hydro, Big Opportunity” in the May 2013 issue).

“There are some interesting interactions between wind and solar that are helping drive the need for hydro in terms of some of the ancillary services that hydropower generation can provide.” In this, Finis said, direct policy support for wind and solar is creating indirect support for dispatchable generation like hydro. “Investors and utilities that are taking a more long-term view in terms of generation resources are looking at hydro as a way to help balance” wind and solar generation.

Furthermore, while big hydro has gotten the cold shoulder from state renewable energy portfolios, smaller projects in the neighborhood of 30 MW can often qualify, Finis said. “There’s also a sort of renewed sensitivity to the smaller projects having less overall impact on the environment.”

A Promising Niche

One of those smaller retrofit projects is taking shape at the Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River in Iowa (Figure 2). The 36.4-MW-rated project, with a peak output of 55 MW, is being built by Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) for the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA). MWH is supplying engineering and consulting services, and Voith Hydro is supplying the generators and turbines. Ground was broken on the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) in August, with completion scheduled for 2018. The $379 million facility will be operated by MRES and financed and owned by WMMPA.

While there are avoided costs involved with a retrofit as compared to a new project, there are also some new challenges. As Ralph Watt, MWH’s project manager for RRHP explained to POWER, the Red Rock Dam was built primarily for flood control, with recreation as an additional benefit. “One of the major challenges was to construct the facility without having any impact on the existing operation,” he said. Because of the demands of flood control operations, the water level at Red Rock can fluctuate up to 40 feet through the course of the year, meaning the construction site is sometimes completely dry and sometimes flooded. “It changes all the ways you would approach building the project.”
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Like many other potential projects, RRHP is being built at a USACE dam. “That adds another level of regulatory scrutiny,” Watt said. “In design and construction of these facilities, we had to make sure that we satisfied the Corps of Engineers concerns and requirements when it comes to any impact we might have had on their structures.”

Those concerns may be getting some revision. In July, the USACE updated its policy guidance on requests to modify USACE-owned facilities under Section 408. In it, the USACE says that “USACE and [the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)] have agreed to work with each other and with other participating agencies or entities, as appropriate to ensure that timely decisions are made and that the responsibilities of each agency are met.” The updated guidance extends not just to conventional hydropower projects but also to “non-conventional” facilities such as hydrokinetic generation (which relies on natural flow rather than a hydraulic head) that could be added to jetties, levees, and navigational channels.

Other policy support may be on the way was well. In 2011, the Obama Administration launched the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard, which is designed to expedite the licensing process for critical infrastructure projects “that will create a significant number of jobs, have already identified necessary funding, and where the significant steps remaining before construction are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government and can be completed within 18 months.” While the list includes several wind and solar generating facilities, RRHP is so far the only hydropower project to receive such expedited review. Hydropower backers are hoping the success of RRHP will lead to others.

Hydro Is Still Big

None of this is to suggest that the days of Big Hydro are over, even in North America.

Quebec, which gets a whopping 96% of its electricity from hydropower, is still looking to add capacity. Hydro-Québec’s four-unit, 1,550-MW Romaine project is partway through full commissioning, with Unit 2 scheduled for service this year, and the remaining units expected to be complete by 2020. Equipment for the two largest units, 2 and 3, is being supplied by Alstom. Upgrade projects to add capacity at several older facilities are also under way.

The Romaine project has been controversial in part because it may prove to be a money loser. Hydro-Québec earns substantial income from exporting electricity to customers in the northeastern U.S., but with the shale gas boom having depressed wholesale power prices across the region, it is not clear if Romaine will ever earn enough money to pay for itself.

Out west, BC Hydro is still pushing forward with the Site C project on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia. The proposal, which has been in the works for more than 30 years, is projected to generate 1,100 MW. The plan is still in the permitting process, but BC Hydro hopes to have it online by 2024. This project as well is facing stiff opposition, much of it from First Nations groups concerned about lost farmland and fishing grounds.

Storage Wars

Perhaps the biggest growth area for North American hydro is pumped storage, Finis said. “One of the great drivers for these projects is going to be the integration of renewable energy resources.”

In terms of storage options, pumped storage hydropower reigns supreme in terms of how much capacity it can add to the grid with existing technology. That means big potential in areas with a lot of renewable capacity being added.

“We are seeing quite an interest in development of storage projects right now in the U.S.,” Finis said.

One of those projects is taking shape in Northern California. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is conducting feasibility testing for a 400-MW pumped storage facility that would be added to its existing Upper American River Project near Lake Tahoe. The Iowa Hill plant would add a storage pond 1,200 feet above a bend in the existing Slab Creek reservoir. The $800 million project could begin construction as soon as 2018 if SMUD decides to proceed.

An even larger pumped storage project is planned for Southern California, on the site of an old iron mine near Joshua Tree National Park. The 1,300-MW closed-loop facility would convert the old mining pits into storage reservoirs. GEI Consultants is leading the project for Eagle Crest Energy Co. FERC gave the project a license to proceed in July after state water quality officials approved the plan in 2013, but roadblocks remain. In particular, the effect on area water resources from filling the over 17,000-acre-feet project—the plan is to use groundwater drawn from nearby wells—is sure to be controversial in the midst of one of the worst droughts in California’s history. If completed, it would be the fifth-largest pumped storage facility in the U.S.

No Silver Bullet

Despite the advantages, getting backers for hydropower projects in the current environment can be tricky, Finis acknowledged. “Hydro is still facing some challenges when it comes to financing.”

There are a couple of factors behind this, he explained. One is the longer period for FERC licensing for hydro generation, which can take three to five years. However, changes in the law in 2011 are intended to expedite development at unpowered dams like Red Rock. FERC has now been directed to consider a shortened two-year licensing process for such facilities.

The long licensing period stands in stark contrast to how long it actually takes to build small retrofits. In especially favorable sites, the plant can be up and running in less than a year. The 6-MW Mahoning Creek Hydroelectric Project at Mahoning Creek in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, began construction in March 2013 and was online by December. The project, retrofitted to a flood control dam built in 1941, was developed by Enduring Hydro, an investment and development firm that specializes in small hydropower.

Another roadblock is the larger upfront costs compared to equivalent natural gas generation. “To develop hydro, you really have to have more of a long-term outlook,” Finis said, and focus on the lower levelized cost of energy over the project lifetime. “You’ll have more cost on the O&M side, replacement side, and fuel side with other technologies that you don’t necessarily have with hydro.”

This is an important advantage when you consider the much longer lifespan for a hydro plant compared to a gas plant: Some hydro projects in the U.S. have been reliably generating electricity for more than 100 years.

The look of the hydro sector may be evolving, but all signs are that its legacy will continue. ¦

— Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @thomas_overton).

Eleven Hydroelectric Plants in Northwest to Change Hands

The Montana Public Service Commission (MPSC) on Sept. 4 approved Northwestern Energy Corp.’s request to purchase 11 hydroelectric power plants in the state from PPL Montana for $880 million.

The plants, which comprise PPL Montana’s entire hydroelectric profile, total 630 MW of generation. Nine are run-of-river plants; the other two, the Mystic Lake Dam in Stillwater County and the Kerr Dam near Polson, are conventional storage dams. The deal also includes the Hebgen Lake reservoir, which does not have generation facilities but stores water for downstream projects.

PPL Montana’s parent company PPL Corp. announced in June that it will merge its merchant generation assets with those of Riverstone Holdings to form a new company, Talen Energy. Talen will become on of the largest independent generators in the country and will own and operate 15,320 MW of generation in Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Montana.

A big chunk of its Montana assets, however, will be sold as part of this deal. Two coal plants will remain in the portfolio, though one, the 153-MW J. E. Corette plant near Billings, is being mothballed in 2015. PPL Montana will retain ownership of its 529 MW share of the 2,094-MW Colstrip plant east of Billings.

The deal has already received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval, and once the order from the MPSC in final later this month, only a routine FERC review of the financing is necessary to close the sale.

The assets covered by the deal are the Thompson Falls Dam on the Clark Fork River; Kerr Dam on the Flathead River; Madison Dam on the Madison River; Mystic Lake Dam on West Rosebud Creek; and Hauser, Holter, Black Eagle, Rainbow, Cochrane, Ryan and Morony dams along the Missouri River, as well as Hebgen Lake.

—Thomas W. Overton is a POWER associate editor.
India and Nepal to sign a 2nd PDA to generate hydroelectric power

PTI reported that India and Nepal are holding negotiations to sign a second Project Development Agreement to generate hydroelectric power in the Himalayan nation endowed with rich water resources.

Indian Embassy sources said that the negotiations for the 900 MW Arun-III project between Investment Board Nepal and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited, India, began and they are set to continue tomorrow as well.

The format of the PDA will be same as that of 900 MW Upper Karnali project being developed by GMR Consortium of India.

GMR had signed an agreement with the Nepalese authorities in September for the 150 billion mega project.

Under the PDA signed between GMR and IBN, Nepal will get 22% of the energy generated free from the project and 27% free equity share in the project.

The same provisions may apply when Satluj signs a PDA with Nepal.

The signing of the PDA between IBN and GMR was a milestone in hydropower development in Nepal as the agreement paved way for the largest foreign direct investment.

According to officials, once the negotiations are over the two countries will sign the PDA for developing the Arun III project in the near future. However, the date is yet to be finalized.

The 2 countries have also signed Power Trading Agreement last month that would allow exchange of power between them.

Source - PTI
BAM ontvangt contract bouw elektriciteitscentrale Oostenrijk

AMSTERDAM (Dow Jones)--Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau ag, onderdeel van Koninklijke BAM Groep nv (BAMNB.AE), heeft een joint venture contract ontvangen ter waarde van circa EUR14 miljoen van Gemeinschaftskraftwerk Inn GmbH, meldt het concern vrijdag.

Het contract betreft de bouw van een turbine gebouw als onderdeel van een hydro-elektriciteitscentrale, meldt het concern in het begeleidend persbericht. De centrale zal naar verwachting in 2018 operationeel zijn.

Het aandeel noteert 0,7% hoger op EUR2,27.

- Door Patrick Buis; Dow Jones Nieuwsdienst; +31 20 571 52 00;

SJVN to build Arun-3 hydro electric project in Nepal

Business Standard reported that Shimla-based public sector undertaking Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam signed a project development agreement with the Nepal government for building the 900 MW Arun-3 hydro electric project.

The project cost is estimated at around INR 7,000 crore and will be executed with a 75:25 debt to equity ratio. Nepal has exempted the project from 50% Custom duty and refund of value-added tax.

A SJVN official said that the agreement was signed in Kathmandu by Mr R P Singh chief of SJVN and Mr Radesh Pant, CEO of Investment Board of Nepal. Mr Narendra Modi, PM of India and his napelese counterpart Mr Sushil Kumar Koirala were present at the occasion. The Arun-3 project will have four units with a capacity of 225 MW each.

The power from the 2 generating station will be carried through 2 400 KV circuit of 310 km length and connected to an Indian grid at Muzaffarpur, Bihar. A 78.1% power will be brought to the Indian grid and an estimated rate, including transmission charge will be INR 4.95 a unit.

Officials said that Arun-3 will achieve financial closure in 24 months and COD within 60 months. The concession term of the project is 25 years. SJVN was awarded the project in 2008. It has already deployed staff for the execution of the project. DPR is also ready.

SJVN has three operational power stations with an installed capacity of 2,000 MW including India's largest 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro power station in Himachal Pradesh.

The company is in the process of adding 5,000 MW of capacity from its 10 coming projects in Himachal, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra besides in Nepal and Bhutan.

Source – Business Standard
Top Plant: Ashta Hydropower Plant, Shkoder, Albania

Retrofitted to the outlet of a 30-year-old reservoir, the two-stage, 53-MW, 90-turbine Ashta Hydropower Plant on the Drin River in northwest Albania is a textbook example of how innovative run-of-river hydropower projects are harnessing latent generation worldwide. Courtesy: Energii Ashta

Owners/operators: Verbund/EVN

Like many small countries, Albania is dependent on a specific generation type for the majority of its electricity. In the case of this mountainous nation of 3 million people, it’s hydropower. Roughly 98% of its annual domestic generation comes from hydroelectric generating plants, mostly concentrated on the Drin River in the country’s north.

The Albanian power sector has faced serious challenges over the past few decades. Once a net exporter of electricity, it has been forced to import power as demand has grown, because almost no new capacity was added between 1990 and 2010. This dependence on hydropower, which constitutes about 95% of its 1.7 GW of total installed capacity (the remainder is accounted for by a few small thermal plants), also means generation constraints during dry periods. In a number of instances, prolonged droughts have caused rolling blackouts.

Albania’s growing economy has exacerbated the power deficits. Since transitioning from a centrally planned economy to an open market during the 1990s, the country has experienced substantial growth (though also some periods of turmoil). This has naturally meant a strong increase in electricity demand.

According to World Bank statistics, the Albanian power sector suffers from an unfunded deficit of about $550 million and commercial and technical losses of about 42% due to an antiquated grid, electricity theft, rampant nonpayment, and poor collection rates. Ongoing reform of the electricity sector is intended to address these problems, but experts agree the difficulties are large.

Though there is clearly a need to diversify Albanian generation resources, and efforts to develop new thermal, wind, and solar capacity are under way, the fact remains that the nation’s largest potential resource will remain hydropower for the foreseeable future. Estimates are that only 35% of its hydroelectric potential has been exploited, but the delay in bringing major hydroelectric projects online is a deterrent.

Instead, since the late 2000s, Albania has been focused on building small hydropower plants under 100 MW, with about half the capacity being built under foreign concessions. Much of the initiative is intended to increase generation capacity in the southern end of the country, but it is also intended to further exploit potential on the Drin River—the nation’s longest—where 95% of its capacity is located.

The lowest dam on the Drin is at Vau i Dejes, about five miles southeast of the city of Shkoder, where a 250-MW hydroelectric plant has operated since 1973. But because the dam harnesses only part of the Spathara Reservoir outflow, there remained unexploited flow between the reservoir and Lake Shkoder, where the Drin joins the Bojana River.

Albanian officials had identified this stretch of the Drin as a possible site for future hydropower development in the 1990s, but existing hydroelectric technology at the time would not have resulted in an economic project. Not until the development of modern run-of-river generation technology in the 2000s did the idea finally show promise.

Filling a Need

In January 2008, the Albanian government put out a call for tenders, and in September signed a concession agreement with Austrian firms Verbund and EVN. Verbund is one of the largest hydropower producers in Europe, and EVN also has substantial hydroelectric assets. The €160 million deal was the first large-scale hydropower plant concession contract in Albania signed with a foreign firm.

Under the agreement, the plant would be owned 50/50 by Verbund and EVN. All of the power would be purchased by the state-run Albanian electricity company Korporata Elektroenergjetike Shqiptare (KESH) under a 15-year contract. After the expiration of the power purchase agreement, the term can be extended or, if not extended, the power can be sold on the open market. After 35 years, the facility will revert to the Albanian government.

Verbund and EVN formed a joint venture company, Energji Ashta, to oversee the project. Permitting was completed in less than a year. Ground was broken in May 2009, with formal construction beginning in March 2010. Full project financing was completed in December.

The Ashta Hydropower Plant was built in two phases. Ashta 1 was built below the existing plant, at the bottom of the reservoir’s effluent weir. Ashta 2 was built 5 kilometers downstream. To minimize impact on the local watershed, the plants were not built across the existing river; instead, a lined headrace channel was built parallel to the riverbed. Below Ashta 2, a tailrace channel eventually rejoins the river.

Because the site could not have been economically developed using conventional hydroelectric turbine technology, the innovative design instead employed modular Hydromatrix turbine generators from Andritz (Figure 1). The Hydromatrix is an axial-type propeller turbine using a bulb-style, synchronous, permanent-magnet generator. These compact turbines enable the use of slower currents and lower heads: Ashta 1 has a head of 4.98 meters while Ashta 2 has a head of 7.53 meters.

1. Simple design. The Ashta project uses an array of 45 Andritz Hydromatrix turbine generators. These small modular units allow quick addition of run-of-river generation to existing watercourses with minimal site work. Courtesy: Andritz (top), Energji Ashta (bottom)

Hydromatrix turbines are shipped as prefabricated modules, each comprising a single turbine generator, allowing them to be installed directly into an existing watercourse with minimal site work.

Each phase of Ashta employed 45 of them, making Ashta the largest Hydromatrix-based plant ever built. As installed, each Hydromatrix turbine can be taken in or out of service individually, or raised out of the water for maintenance, without affecting operation of the other units.

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The first turbine was installed in August 2011, with the channel completed and flooded the following April. Test operations started thereafter, with the first electricity fed to the grid in June 2012. Ashta 1 was completed and inaugurated in September, with Ashta 2 commissioned the following March. The project officially began supplying power to KESH in April 2013, with final completion declared in July—a rapid pace of less than three years from start of construction to operation. Total project cost was just over €200 million.

Environmentally Friendly

The Ashta project was constructed to comply with the requirements of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was registered and approved for the CDM in August 2012. According to the UN, the CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction credits, each equivalent to 1 metric ton of CO2. These credits can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The mechanism is designed to foster sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries flexibility in meeting emission reduction targets. Ashta is certified to avoid 78,989 metric tons of CO2 annually.

The project also added a fish bypass to the Spathara Reservoir, allowing fish from the Adriatic to reach the reservoir for the first time since the Vau i Dejes hydroelectric plant was built in the 1970s. This is the first fish bypass installed on any of the hydroelectric plants in Albania.

In its first year of operation ending in March 2014, Ashta generated a total of 267 GWh, exceeding its projected average by 11%. It has also experienced no lost-time accidents or unplanned outages.

For demonstrating the speed of development and possibilities of modern run-of-river hydroelectric generation, Ashta is a worthy POWER Top Plant. ¦

— Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor.
India to invest USD 2 billion to build 2 hydroelectric plants in Nepal and Bhutan

MyDigit reported that as part of PM Mr Narendra Modi’s ‘neighbors first’ policy, India has committed to invest USD 2 billion to set up 2 hydroelectric projects in Nepal and Bhutan. The investment will be made through 2 JV companies floated by state run Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam.

The Nepal project involves construction of the 900 MW Arun III hydroelectric project with an investment of close to INR 7,000 crore. It will be executed with a 75:25 debt to equity ratio and will comprise 4 units of 225 MW. The project is expected to achieve financial closure in 24 months and get commissioned within 60 months.

While in Bhutan, SJVNL will set up a 600 MW hydropower project through a JV with Druk Green Power Corporation, the investment in Nepal will be made by a special purpose vehicle of the state-run entity under a project development agreement with the Investment Board of Nepal.

A government official privy to the development said that “The 2 projects will need an investment of over USD 1.5 billion. The projects had run into delays for some time but the deal has now been struck that would meet the electricity needs of both India and the two partnering countries.”

Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co advised the 2 sides on concluding the deal.

Source -
BHEL successfully commissions a hydro power plant in Rwanda

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has achieved one more landmark in the African region by constructing and successfully commissioning a Hydro Power Project in Rwanda, on turnkey basis.

Significantly, the order for setting up the 28 MW Nyaborongo Hydro Electric Project, was the first order received by BHEL from this East-African country. Prior to this, the company had already established its presence in a number of African nations like Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, etc. Both the generating units of this power project were synchronized with the grid and with the commissioning of this project, the installed generating capacity of Republic of Rwanda has gone up by 24% from 119 MW to 147 MW.

Nyaborongo Hydro Electric project is owned by the Government of Rwanda and has been financed under the Government of India’s Line of Credit. BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisaged turnkey execution of the Hydro-mechanical and Electro-mechanical packages for the Nyaborongo Hydro Power Project comprising 2 Francis type hydro generating units of 14 MW each. Major equipment supplied for the project include hydro turbines, generators, transformers, controls, monitoring and protection systems and switchgear. The project demanded the highest degree of competence in manufacturing and execution from BHEL’s own manufacturing units as well as the sub-vendors and contractors involved.

BHEL has a vast experience in hydro-electric plants having contracted over 28,000 MW of projects across the globe. The company has the capability to deliver complete Hydro Power Plants including design, engineering, supply / logistics, erection and commissioning. Hydro Turbines in the range of 100 KW upwards and upto 300,000 KW unit sizes of various Impeller types namely Francis, Kaplan, Pelton and also Reversible and Pump Turbines along with matching generators are designed and engineered, manufactured and tested at BHEL’s own manufacturing plants. BHEL’s hydro installations are working in India, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand and Vietnam. The company is also currently executing Hydro power projects in Afghanistan, DR Congo and Bhutan.

Source - Strategic Research Institute
Chinese Three Gorges dam breaks world hydropower record

Agence France-Presse reported that China's Three Gorges dam has broken the world record for annual hydroelectric power production, more than a decade after it became the world's largest power plant.

The Yangtze river power station generated 98.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014, the Three Gorges Dam Corporation said in a statement that topping the 2013 production from the Brazilian-Paraguayan Itaipu dam.

The amount of electricity generated by the Three Gorges plant is roughly equivalent to burning 49 million tonne of coal, said Thursday's statement, thereby preventing 100 million tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. But concerns have been raised about the environmental and human cost of the huge project, which saw more than a million people moved before it opened around a decade ago.

Thousands remain in poverty and China's government in 2012 made a rare admission that the treatment of migrants relocated for the dam was still an urgent problem. Campaign groups said that it has damaged biodiversity, threatening the critically endangered Yangtze river dolphin. The Three Gorges dam is the world's largest power plant by installed capacity with 22,500 MW a third more than Itaipu, on the Parana river.

Source - Agence France-Presse
UP minister suggests Centre to build hydro power plants in Nepal

Mr Yasir Shah, Power Minister of Uttar Pradesh, suggested that India should try to use the massive possibilities of hydro power generation in neighbouring Nepal by sending a proposal for setting up plants there.

Mr Shah said that "The Central government should make a proposal for setting up hydro power plants in Nepal where there are massive possibilities, as is being done by China. If such projects are taken up, Uttar Pradesh will also benefit from it, the state will get cheaper electricity from it.”

The Minister said that Mr Akhilesh Yadav, CM of UP, is making efforts to improve the power situation in the state and bring reforms in the sector.

He said that "These efforts are now going to bear fruits as generation in Anpara-D unit will start by the end of March 2015 and by the end of the year, the state is likely to meet its demand through various sources."

Source - PTI
TATA Power to develop 450 MW clean power through hydel

The Hindu reported that TATA Power, as part of its centenary celebrations, has announced plans to develop 450 MW clean power through hydel to contribute to green energy initiative. This year, the company will commission 120 MW hydro power capacity to mark 100 year celebrations.

TATA Power commissioned its first hydro unit of 12 MW on February 9th 1915 at Khopoli near here and has since grown to be a big company of having generation capacity of 8621 MW.

TATA Power said that to contribute to the society its Skilled Development Institute would train 200,000 people and it would help save INR 100 crore through promoting energy conservation.

The company has also unveiled a new logo to mark the occasion. Mr Anil Sardana, MD and CEO of TATA Power, said that “It is with extreme pride, joy and honour that we would like to ring-in celebrations for our centenary year. Moving forward, the Company will continue to announce various initiatives being undertaken for various stakeholders.”

Mr Sardana said that “TATA Power will also work towards its mission of having a 20% to 25% contribution from ‘clean power sources'. The company has been working in different areas of renewable power generation both grid connected as well as distributed generation for strengthening its clean energy portfolio.”

Beginning its journey hundred years ago, TATA Power today has a significant presence across the power value chain. From fuel and logistics to generation and transmission to distribution and trading, the company is poised for a multi-fold growth.

TATA Power has also been the catalyst for multiplication of several other TATA businesses, including TATA Projects, TATA Power Solar, TATA Consulting Engineers and a few other businesses.

Globally, only one% of registered companies have survived for 100 years and among them three are from the TATA group, which include Indian Hotels Company, TATA Steel and TATA Power.

Source - The Hindu
Mr Narendra Modi raises pitch for hydel power

Mr Narendra Modi PM of India raised the pitch for 'power-for-prosperity' as he tried to convince the people of Arunachal Pradesh of the benefits of exploiting the state's hydropower potential.

Addressing a huge turnout at Indira Gandhi Park here on Arunachal Pradesh's 29th Statehood Day, he cited the examples of two neighbouring nations, Bhutan and Nepal, to drive home his point.

Mr Modi said that "I know the people of Arunachal Pradesh have certain reservations about some hydel projects. There were similar issues in Bhutan and Nepal, which have as much water resources. We negotiated with them. We are trying to set up power companies there. Through electricity alone, Nepal and Bhutan's economic condition will improve. They will transform into happy nations. You, too, have similar strength and you need to realise it to ensure progress and prosperity."

The underdeveloped frontier state is considered the power hub of the country with potential of producing around 60,000 MW. To harness this potential, the state government has signed nearly 160 memoranda of agreement with public and private power companies. However, most of these have not taken off because of various factors, including protests. Even Mr Mohesh Chai, a BJP legislator from Tezu, said that the huge number of projects causes concern.

Mr Modi's push is unlikely to go down well in downstream Assam where a section is opposed to big dams coming up in Arunachal Pradesh. This section has already stalled the construction of 2000MW Lower Subansiri project coming up on the Assam-Arunachal border.

In his 40 minute speech, Mr Modi mostly dwelt on momentum and power. He promised adequate protection to those affected by hydel projects.

He said that "I assure Arunachal Pradesh will light up the entire country. If you recognise your strength, the fate of Arunachal Pradesh will change for the better.”

Mr Modi's all-out push left those opposed to big dams wondering what happened to his no-big-dam line during electioneering for the Lok Sabha polls.

Mr Takar Pertin of East Siang district said that "Today he only talked about how we will benefit but was silent on the size and scale of dams. It seems like a U-turn."

Mr Modi's power push has not gone down well with a section in downstream Assam vehemently opposed to the construction of big dams in Arunachal Pradesh. This section has stalled the construction of the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri project coming up on the inter-state border since December 2011.

Source -
Govt to take call on green nod to Jindal Power's hydro-power project in Arunachal

PTI reported that the Environment Ministry is likely to take a call this week on giving a green clearance to Jindal Power Limited for setting up 3,097 MW hydro electric project in Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh.

It is also expected to decide on granting green nod to two major irrigation projects, the Lower Penganga Inter-state Irrigation project in Maharashtra and construction of flood carrier canal project in Tamil Nadu.

Sources said that these 3 proposals are listed for environmental clearances before the 82nd meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Environment Ministry, which is scheduled to be held on February 26th to 27th.

The committee is also expected to consider the terms of reference submitted by Purthi Hydro Power for setting up of 300 MW hydro-electric power project in Lahual and Spiti and Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.

ToR, submitted in the second stage of environment clearance process, is a document giving a detailed information for impact assessment of a particular project.

The committee is expected to consider ToRs of other projects, including the one submitted by state-run SJVN Limited, for setting up of 80 MW Doimukh Hydro Electric Project in Arunachal Pradesh and the ToR document of the Uttar Pradesh government for construction of Badaun Lift Canal.

It will also discuss whether to give extension of ToR submitted by L&T Arunachal Hydro Power Limited for setting up of 74 MW hydro electric power project in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Jindal Power's INR 14,000 crore hydro power project is a run-of-the-river project that will be using the waters of Dri and Talo rivers in Dibang Valley, Arunchal Pradesh.

It will be implemented through a special purpose vehicle 'Etaline Hydro Electric Power Company Limited.'

The INR 10,500 crore Lower Penganga project is a joint project between Maharashtra and Telangana governments on Penganga River, which is a tributary of Godavari river.

The project envisages an irrigation potential of 40,000 acres in Adilabad district and 2.38 lakh acres in Yavatmal and Chadrapur districts of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra by utilising 42.67 thousand million cubic feet water of the Penganga.

The INR 572.4 crore project in Tamil Nadu aims to construct a flood carrier canal to drought prone areas of Sathankulam, Thisayanvilai by inter-linking 3 rivers, Tamiraparani, Karumeniyar and Nambiyar, in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts. The project will benefit an area of 23,040 hectare.

Source - PTI
MoEF approves a 1200 MW hydel project on Lohit river in Arunachal

The Indian Express reported that moving to fast-track environment clearance for hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh, an expert panel of the Ministry of Environment and Forests has shown the green light to a 1200 MW project on the Lohit river and is set to consider for clearance a 3097 MW hydel project in Dibang Valley later this week. But in giving the go-ahead, the ministry appears to have bent its own guidelines.

On January 28th, the expert appraisal committee of the ministry recommended environment clearance for the 1200 MW Kalai-II hydro electric project of Reliance Power subsidiary Kalai Power Private Limited.

The ministry has listed the 3097 MW Etalin hydro electric project for the next EAC meeting on February 27th. The Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited is a JV company of Jindal Power Limited and Hydro Power Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited. The project is on the Dri and Tangon, tributaries of the Dibang river which meet near Etalin village.

The clearances go against the ministry's own guidelines. In May 2013, the ministry issued an order that after the first project in a river basin, all subsequent ones would be considered for clearance based on a cumulative impact assessment. Further, in two orders on August 20th and September 26th, 2014, the ministry said that approval of the National Board for Wildlife for projects within 10 km of national parks and sanctuaries would form part of environment clearance.

The cumulative impact assessment of the Lohit basin by IIT-Roorkee is still to be completed and the Kalai-II project has not even come up before the NBWL. But the ministry listed the project for environment clearance in the January 27th to 28th meeting of its EAC. Clearance for the Etalin project too is subject to the cumulative impact assessment study.

When his comments were sought, Mr B B Barman, Director of MoEF and Member-Secretary of the EAC, said that “The committee recommended Kalai-II HEP for environment clearance. But there are a number of conditions to be met. The case is the same with Etalin. The ministry's May 2013 order asked for carrying capacity studies to be initiated for all rivers within three months and completed in two years, after which it would become mandatory for considering every project. That deadline is still a few months away.”

He declined comment on the requirement of a cumulative impact assessment for each project stipulated in the same order and the merit of considering Kalai-II and Etalin HEPs for environment clearance without meeting this condition.

Source - The Indian Express
TATA Power commissions Unit I of Dagachhu hydro power plant

TATA Power, India's largest integrated power company has successfully commissioned 63 MW sized Unit 1 of its 126 MW Dagachhu Hydro Power Corporation in Bhutan. This project is in line with TATA Power's commitment to commission 120 MW of new Hydro Power Project this year as part of the centenary year celebration theme of Invisible Goodness, and is the first cross border project registered under UNFCCC's Clean Development Mechanism.

The Dagachhu project is a Joint Venture initiative between TATA Power and National Pension & Provident Fund of Bhutan. With the commissioning of the project, TATA Power's total hydro generation capacity today stands at 513 MW and overall capacity at 8684 MW.

The Dagachhu Project is 126 MW run of river hydro project located in Dagana Dzongkhag, Bhutan. The commercial flow of energy generated from the Dagachhu project to India officially started at 00:30 hours in the morning (Bhutan time) of February 21st 2015. The test run for the second unit of 63 MW will also be immediately started and expected to be completed soon.

DHPC has entered into a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement with TATA Power Trading Company Limited, a company of TATA Power, for sale of power from the project. The power generated from the project shall be sold by TPTCL in the Indian power market.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Anil Sardana, CEO and MD of TATA Power, said that "We are delighted to announce the commissioning of the Dagachhu hydro project in Bhutan. Hydro power is an intrinsic part of our clean energy mix and we aim to develop new Hydro project of yet another 450 MW this year. We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint through the generation of 20% to 25% of our total capacity through clean and renewable energy sources. We would like to thank the Royal Government of Bhutan, Druk Green Power Corporation, Ministry of External Affairs of Bhutan & India, Ministry of Power, GoI and all the stakeholders, for the support extended in setting up this project in Bhutan.”

Mr Chhewang Rinzin, Chairman of DHPC and MD of DGPC, said that “The 126 MW Dagachhu project is the first hydroelectric project that has been successfully completed under a Bhutanese management. This is the first public private partnership project that showcased the very successful participation of TATA Power Company in Bhutan's hydropower sector with TATA Power Trading Company offtaking the energy to India. The Dagachhu project is also the first cross-border CDM project that has led to other projects being cleared under the Clean Development Mechanism. The main promoter, ADB, has been very happy with the implementation of the Dagachhu project, and has agreed to finance the 118 MW Nikachhu project and also expand on ADB's involvement in Bhutan's hydropower sector.”

Mr Rinzin said that “For Bhutan, the successful completion of the Dagachhu project has given confidence of its own internal capabilities in developing such projects and plans to continue to build its human capital through implementation of similar and larger projects. For the management team, it has been a huge relief to have finally commissioned the first unit. Druk Green hopes to achieve similar successes with its future projects and would like to thank the TATA Power and TATA Power Trading for helping Dagachhu project to achieve its commissioning.”

This commissioning of the project marks a significant milestone on the 35th birth anniversary of His Majesty, the king of Bhutan and also TATA Power's centenary year celebration of commissioning of its first hydro-unit in 1915 at Khopoli.

The projects is the first public-private partnership in infrastructure investment in Bhutan with participation from multiple Bhutanese and international stakeholders. Thus, Dagacchu Hydro Project serves as a model for other countries- particularly those with low GHG-emitting grid- to harness the benefits of CDM towards enhancing the socioeconomic development of the country while meeting the escalating energy demand in a sustainable way.

Source – Strategic Research Institute
20 hydropower plants awaits 'environment clearance' from Centre

Times of India reported that environmental clearances of 20 hydro power projects, having installed capacity of over 11,000 MW, are currently pending with the central government. 12 such projects with capacity of 9,266 MW are in Arunachal Pradesh.

Mr Prakash Javadekar, Union Environment Minister, said in his written response to a Parliament question in Lok Sabha that "Government is appraising 20 hydro power projects in consideration of grant of environment clearance to these projects."

He said that "The proposals are processed for environment clearance as per the provisions under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006. These projects will be accorded clearance within the stipulated timeframe and after receiving requisite documents from the project proponents.”

3 such pending projects for environmental clearance are in Himachal Pradesh, two in Jammu & Kashmir and one each in Karnataka, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.

The total capacity of proposed projects in Himachal Pradesh is 431 MW as compared to 1220 MW in J&K, 200 MW in Karnataka, 110 MW in Sikkim and 108 MW in Uttarakhand.

Etalin HEP Project and Dibang Multipurpose Project both in Arunachal Pradesh are the 2 biggest hydro power projects in the list of 20 pending projects.

Arunachal Pradesh alone has the hydro power 'potential' of 60,000 MW. There are, at present, three projects which are in different stages of implementation in the state.

The ongoing hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh include 110 MW Pare project and 600 MW Kameng project by North East Electrical Power Corporation. While the Pare project is expected to be commissioned this year, Kameng project will be commissioned next year. Work on the 3rd one, 2000 MW Lower Subansiri hydro electric project is expected to begin soon.

Source - Times of India
Brits plan: stroom opwekken met een lagune

In Groot-Brittannië zijn plannen onthuld voor stroomopwekking met een aantal kunstmatige lagunes. De minister van Energie is voorstander.

De zes lagunes, die bestaan uit een ringdijk met een binnenmeer, gebruiken het in- en uitstromend getij op turbines aan te drijven, meldt de BBC. Iedere lagune is enorm: in Swansea zal een zeewering van acht kilometer worden gebouwd, die meer dan 3 kilometer in zee steekt.

Golfbreker van 22 kilometer

De lagune die bij Cardiff zou moeten verrijzen, zou bestaan uit een golfbreker van 22 kilometer, waarin 90 turbines zijn geplaatst. Die zouden dan 14 uur per dag stroom kunnen opwekken.

De Swansea-lagune moet 1,4 miljard euro kosten en energie opwekken voor 155.000 huishoudens. Die kosten liggen hoog, geeft het initiatiefnemend consortium, waarin onder meer TenCate en Van Oord participeren, toe. “Na verloop van tijd, als de investering is afbetaald, wordt het ongelooflijk goedkoop”, zegt topman Mark Shorrock.

Enorme investering

Als alle zes lagunes worden gebouwd, kan 8 procent van de Britse energiebehoefte worden opgewekt voor een investering van 41 miljard euro, zegt het consortium.

Die wil 168 pond per megawattuur vragen voor de centrale bij Swansea, en tussen de 90 en 95 pond per megawattuur voor stroom uit de efficiëntere centrale bij Cardiff. Dat laatste bedrag steekt gunstig af bij de 92,5 pond per megawattuur die de stroom uit een geplande nieuwe kerncentrale moet kosten.
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