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Government Agencies Continue Partnership to Advance Hydropower Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of the Army for Civil Works announced on March 24 that the three agencies would continue to collaborate on hydropower development for at least another five years.

The agreement extends a memorandum of understanding (MOU) the three agencies originally signed in 2010, renewing their commitment to cooperate on an action plan for hydropower. The original agreement was successful in spurring the completion of 10 non-federal projects at Bureau of Reclamation facilities—adding 33 MW of capacity—with 40 additional projects currently in development. The Army Corps of Engineers also completed three non-federal projects, adding 19.4 MW, with 32 more projects in some stage of development.

Other accomplishments realized through the first MOU included:
•Completing assessments and studies of hydropower resources.
•Constructing a database for all existing U.S. hydropower infrastructure.
•Developing tools for optimizing the operation of hydropower facilities.
•Evaluating the potential for upgrades and modernizations.
•Funding research projects to develop new hydropower generation technologies.
•Delivering a report to Congress, examining the potential effects of climate change on water availability for hydropower.
•Developing and implementing an integrative approach to assess complementary hydropower and environmental opportunities within river basins across the U.S.
•Improving the licensing process for the development of new hydropower at existing federal dams.

“Our collaboration with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers enables our nation to responsibly expand America’s largest source of clean, renewable energy,” Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said in a press release announcing the agreement. “I am excited about this opportunity to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio, boost our energy security, and reduce carbon emissions with the advanced hydropower technologies that the Department of Energy is helping to develop and deploy.”

The agreement follows the announcement on March 19 of an executive order issued by President Obama that will cut the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions 40% from 2008 levels over the next decade and increase the share of electricity the government consumes from renewable sources to 30%. The measure is expected to save taxpayers $18 billion in avoided energy costs, according to the White House.

“Through the advancement of hydropower, the three agencies are helping meet President Obama’s goal of generating 80 percent of our energy from clean energy sources by 2035,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor said. “This agreement continues Interior’s commitment to renewable energy projects and expands on the original MOU by adding more goals and action items.”

The following are some of the objectives being promoted through the new MOU:
•Improve the accuracy and reduce costs of water flow measurement technology.
•Evaluate superconducting generator technology.
•Further develop low-impact, low-cost hydropower technologies.
•Develop design tools to improve environmental performance of turbines.
•Further assess risks posed by climate change.

“As a leader in the hydropower industry, the Army is proud of our hydroelectric generation and greatly supports the extension of the original MOU as well as the Action Plan for Phase II,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy. “It will help meet the Nation’s needs for reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable hydropower by building a long-term working relationship, prioritizing similar goals, and aligning ongoing and future renewable energy development efforts between DOE, DOI, and the Army Corps of Engineers.”

—Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)
Drought Continues to Challenge California Grid

The ongoing record drought in California has caused significant changes in the state’s power mix as water available for hydroelectric generation becomes increasingly scarce, according to a recent report from Oakland-based nonprofit the Pacific Institute.

The California Independent System Operator warned last year that water shortages were likely to substantially impact the state’s generation, with new gas-fired plants (most of which use dry cooling) making up most of the 1,300 MW to 1,600 MW of hydro generation that would be forced offline.

The Pacific Institute report, released on March 17, makes clear how dramatic the shift has been since the drought began in 2011.

On average between 1983 and 2013, the report notes—though few years are “average” with California’s erratic precipitation patterns—the state has gotten 18% of its electricity from hydropower. From October 2011 through October 2014, however, hydro’s share fell to under 12%, a drop of around 34,000 GWh. At its most recent peak in 2011—an unusually wet year—hydro accounted for 21%.

Despite California’s rapidly growing wind and solar generation capacity, the lost hydro generation has mostly been replaced by natural gas. This has resulted in about $1.4 billion in additional costs to state ratepayers for the extra fuel, and has increased carbon dioxide emissions from the state’s power plants by 8%, around 14 million tons.

More ominously, however, the current drought appears to be part of a long-term pattern of reduced precipitation and hydroelectric generation going back at least to 2007. With the state’s reservoir levels and snowpack far below normal, the chances of a rebound in the near term appear very slim.

The challenge has implications for state energy policy as Gov. Jerry Brown moves to expand the state’s renewable portfolio standard from the current 33% in 2020 to 50% in 2030 and plots a path toward its carbon emissions reduction target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Another study by San Francisco–based think tank Energy Innovation released in March suggests the state will need even more aggressive shifts toward renewable energy to meet the 2050 goals.

As the Pacific Institute report notes, California’s installed hydroelectric capacity has been flat for decades. Prospects for further expansion are very limited given the few remaining unexploited resources and substantial political and environmental opposition that a significant new dam project would encounter.

Natural gas’s share of the California energy mix, meanwhile, has jumped from 45% in 2011 to 61% in 2013, though a portion of this increase is attributable to the premature retirement of the San Onofre nuclear plant in 2012.

—Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine)
Brazil eyes solar power as drought hits hydropower resources

RTCC reported that Brazil’s devastating drought could have the unexpected consequence of finally prompting one of the sunniest countries in the world to take solar power seriously.

The combination of an imminent energy crisis, as reservoir levels fall too low to generate power, and the appointment of a more open-minded Energy Minister promise a rapid change in the situation.

The drought, which has produced a crisis in the supply of water, has seen a dramatic drop in the levels of the reservoirs that supply dozens of hydroelectric dams in the southeast and centre west, Brazil’s industrial powerhouse and major population centre.

As Brazil now begins the 7 month dry period, when rain is traditionally sparse, the reservoirs in the drought-affected region could fall to as little as 10% of their capacity, which the new Mines and Energy Minister, Eduardo Braga, admits would be 'catastrophic' for energy security.

It means that plans to introduce solar energy into the energy mix are at last being considered as Brazil seeks alternatives to hydroelectric dam, on which it relies for up to 80% of its energy.

The contribution of wind power, produced by onshore wind farms in the Northeast and South, has begun to grow.

But solar energy, dubbed 'a fantasy' by President Mr Dilma Rousseff just a few years ago, has been ignored. Only 400 homes in Brazil have photovoltaic panels installed on their roofs, because the cost is so prohibitive.

However, Braga has announced plans to turn dozens of hydroelectric dams in the southeast and centre west, which run the risk of becoming white elephants as the waters diminish, into solar energy farms.

Thousands of solar panels attached to buoys would be floated on the surface of the dwindling reservoirs to provide an alternative source of power.

Ministry officials have calculated they could add up to 15,000 MW of power, which is higher than the maximum capacity of 2 of Brazil's latest Amazon megadams, Jirau, on the Madeira river and the controversial Belo Monte, on the Xingu.

The solar panels would have the added advantage of reducing water evaporation while at the same time being cooled by the water, boosting their conversion efficiency.

Pilot projects are about to begin on 2 dams owned by state companies, Sobradinho, on the Sao Francisco river in Bahia, and Balbina, on the Uatumã river in the Amazon. If they are successful, the solar panels will be introduced into the dams in the southeast and centre west.

Brazil will not be the first country to experiment with floating solar power. Australia is trying it out with PV panels on the surface area of a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown, South Australia. Their energy will power the plant.

Tax breaks for the production of photovoltaic panels have also been promised by Brazil’s Energy Minister, who also plans to introduce new rules to encourage the use of solar panels on buildings with large roof areas.

Two more auctions for solar power will be held this year. In the first such auction, held at the end of last year, 31 solar plants were chosen to provide a total capacity of 1,048 MW by 2017. The price was just under USD 90 per MW among the lowest in the world.

According to some sources, solar energy potential is equivalent to 20 times the total of all the present installed capacity of electrical energy.

Factors that contributed to the low cost were the strong solar radiation factor in Brazil, and the fact that many solar parks would be installed in the same areas as wind farms, reducing the need to acquire land or build new transmission lines.

The 20 year contracts for energy supply involve investments of USD 1.67 billion and many foreign companies are already jostling to get a place in the Brazilian sun, in what promises to be a rapidly expanding market in a few years’ time.

Spanish, Canadian, American, Italian and Chinese companies already have a foot in the door. And as soon as the government and its development bank, the BNDES, come up with the promised tax breaks and incentives, the solar industry could take off.

Source : RTCC
Fortis completes 335 MW Waneta hydropower plant expansion

According to majority owner Fortis Inc, a 335 MW expansion of British Columbia's Waneta hydropower complex has been completed.

Fortis, which bought a 51% share of the USD 900 million project in August 2010, developed the expansion in partnership with Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust, which is wholly owned by the provincial government.

The facility is located near the Waneta Dam on the Pend d'Oreille River. The expansion project also included the construction of a 10-kilometer-long, 230 KV transmission line.

Energy generated at the plant will be sold to BC Hydro and FortisBC under a 40 year power purchase agreement. reported in October 2010 that SNC-Lavalin had been awarded a USD 575.6 million contract to design and build the Waneta expansion after Fortis concluded definitive agreements for the project with CPCBT earlier that month.

Environment ministry of China blocks a hydro project

Reuters reported that China's environment ministry has refused approval for a hydropower dam on an ecologically vulnerable river already damaged by construction, a rare setback for the country's extensive dam-building program.

While the 1,000 MW Xiaonanhai project appears scrapped, experts said that China's overall plan for dams was on course given pressure to cut smog from coal-fired power plants.

Hydropower capacity is due to rise another 60 GW in 5 years as new projects get approved.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a document sent to the Three Gorges Project Corporation and seen by Reuters that the firm could not plan or build the project on the Jinsha river, the upstream section of the Yangtze, in the southwest.

The ministry said in the document that "In the last 10 years, two investigations have been carried out into construction in precious and unique national protection zones for fish in the lower reaches of the Jinsha river, and the structure and function of the zones have already been heavily impacted."

It said that "Your company as well as other units cannot plan or build the Xiaonanhai hydropower plant."

Officials at the Three Gorges Project Corporation were not available for comment and phone calls went unanswered.

Environmentalists said that the blocking of a project once championed by the disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai reflected a tougher stance on protecting rivers.

Mr Grace Mang of the International Rivers group said that "We welcome the decision, particularly the recognition that Xiaonanhai dam would have pushed the Yangtze fish reserve past the ecological red line."

Final approval for big hydropower plants goes to the State Council, the cabinet, and hydropower advocates questioned the legal basis of the ministry document, an environmental impact assessment of the 10 GW Wudongde plant, also on the Jinsha river.

Mr Zhang Boting, vice-secretary general of the China Hydropower Society, said that "The State Council last year approved an overall development plan for the whole of the Yangtze river basin and that plan cannot be guaranteed without building Xiaonanhai and other projects."

He said that "If this company doesn't build, then another might have to, because this is a state planning requirement."

China's dam program slowed after completion of the Three Gorges Project, the world's biggest hydropower plant, about a decade ago, with leaders concerned about human, financial and environmental costs.

But with an ambitious nuclear-power program delayed, a greater reliance on hydropower is seen as a good way to cut smog.

An aim to raise total hydropower capacity to 290 GW by the end of 2015 was met a year early, and according to a strategic energy action plan last year, capacity will be raised to 350 GW by 2020.

Mr Zhang said that "Emissions-cutting pressures are huge, coal consumption remains really high and if we are to meet this important global responsibility we must have hydropower."

Source : REUTERS
A 330 MW hydroelectric power plant comes to UP's relief

Times of India reported that after 500 MW Anpara D, Uttar Pradesh is all set to get another source of power. A 330 MW hydroelectric power project in Srinagar, Uttarakhand. Developed by Hyderabad-based GVK, the project would wheel out 88% of the generation to UP while the remaining 12% will be supplied to Uttarakhand government free of cost.

UP Power Corporation Limited sources confirmed that the first unit of the project would go critical in a day or 2. Under the power purchase agreement, UP would get 290 MW, while around 40 MW, may be handed over to Uttarakhand government since it gave the land for the project.

The project comes at a time when the demand for power has started looking up with the rise in day temperature. Mr S K Agarwal, director of finance at UPPCL, said that "This would certainly help the state government in meeting the demand." He said that the corporation was in touch with the authorities who are monitoring the project in Srinagar.

The project, located on river Alaknanda, has four units of 82.5 MW each. It spans over a length of 248 mts and has a 90 mts high dam that utilizes the net head of around 66 m between the diversion dam and the power house to generate electricity.

The company would approach the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission which would decide the rate at which the power would be supplied.

In fact, the per unit cost of power from hydro-electric power plant is low as compared to coal fired thermal power station. A senior UPPCL official closely associated with the project said that "The cost could be on the higher side at the beginning."

Initiated during the regime of Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav as CM in 2006, the project was stopped following protest in favor of Dhuradevi temple, which the locals believed would get drowned. Interestingly, Ms Mayawati government stepped in 2007 and decided to elevate the level of temple to protect it from drowning.

Sources said that the project picked up speed after 2012, when Samajwadi Party stormed back to power. 2 years later, in March 2014, the project was eventually inaugurated by CM Mr Akhilesh Yadav in the presence of his father and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, SP chief.

GVK's first unit of its Alaknanda hydel project starts operations

GVK Power & Infrastructure Limited said that the first 82.50 MW unit of its Alaknanda hydel project has started operations.

GVK Power & Infrastructure Limited said in a filing to BSE that "The 330 MW Alaknanda Hydro Power Company Limited, a step-down subsidiary, successfully synchronised its first unit with the grid on April 10th and is generating at full load."

It said that the synchronisation of 2nd and third units with the grid is expected this month and the last unit is likely to be commissioned by next month.

The company is developing the 330 MW hydro project on the Alaknanda in Tehri-Pauri Garhwal districts of Uttarakhand.

A power purchase agreement has been signed with Uttar Pradesh and 12% output will be provided free to Uttarakhand.

Source : PTI
SC grants 2 more weeks to Centre for assessing hydropower projects

PTI reported that the Supreme Court granted 2 more weeks to the Centre for filing 'comprehensive' environment and ecological impact report of 18, out of total 24 hydroelectric power projects, to be set up on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in Uttarakhand.

A bench of justices Mr Dipak Misra and Mr U U Lalit, in its order, noted that the Ministry of Environment and Forests has given a report that 6, out of 24 hydroelectric power projects in the state, have substantially complied with legal requirements.

During the hearing, Mr Mukul Rohatgi, Attorney General, appearing for the MoEF, sought time for doing the environment and ecological impact report of 18 other projects.

The bench said that "Whatever decisions have to be taken, have to be taken by you. You take the decisions. The court can keep debating the legal aspect as to whether the environment laws have been complied with or not.”

Meanwhile, the counsel for Uttarakhand said the bench that the state is incurring losses due to delay on the part of MoEF.

The court has now fixed the case for further hearing on May 5th and asked the Centre to file its affidavit on April 29th.

Earlier, the court had granted time for filing comprehensive environment and ecological impact report of 24 hydroelectric power projects to be established on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins.

It had asked the MoEF to come out with a concrete proposal after scrutinising projects including the hydropower projects of PSUs, National Thermal Power Corporation, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and Tehri Hydro Development Coporation.

The purpose is live and let live, the bench had said when lawyer Mr Prashant Bhushan cited a judgement of the court to stress that the issue of degradation of ecology and environment should get primacy and, hence, the projects which are still at primary stages, be not allowed.

It said that "Attempts should not be made to stall the projects and simultaneously, it should not be case also that they (firms) will have all the freedom, the earlier order, prohibiting setting up of new projects, was passed due to massive calamity in the state.”

Source : PTI
Nepal clears China's Three Gorges to build a hydropower project

Reuters reported that Nepal's investment board on Monday cleared China's Three Gorges International Corp to build a long-delayed USD 1.6 billion new hydropower project, the single biggest foreign investment in the Himalayan country.

Mr Ghanashyam Ojha, board official, said that “The dam, to be built on the West Seti river in northwest Nepal, will generate 750 MW of power when complete.”

A Nepal parliamentary panel first approved the project in 2012 but state-owned Three Gorges had been waiting for the investment board's clearance.

The project is forecast for completion by 2021 to 2022 and officials said that some of the generated power is expected to be given to locals for free with the rest sold to Nepal.

One of the world's poorest countries, Nepal is opening up its vast hydropower potential to help ease chronic power shortages and grow an economy still emerging from a decade-long civil war.

That has prompted a rush by China and India to invest billions exploiting their neighbour's rivers and, in the case of India, import electricity to its energy-hungry economy.

In October, India and Nepal signed an agreement to start selling electricity to each other.

Last year Nepal also cleared 2 major Indian hydropower projects worth a combined USD 2.4 billion, including what was at the time the largest foreign investment scheme in the country.

New Delhi has long seen Nepal as part of its sphere of influence but growing Chinese investment in recent years has altered the relationship.

In March, Beijing said that it would extend a USD 145 million grant for the upgrade of a 114 km road that links the capital Kathmandu with the Tibetan border, as well as other infrastructure projects.

Three Gorges is China's biggest hydropower developer and operates the world's largest hydropower plant at the Three Gorges on the Yangtze river.

Nepal is estimated to have the potential to generate 42,000 MW of hydropower but today produces 800 MW less than the demand of 1,400 MW.

Source : REUTERS
Jay Pee Hydropower accuses CITU of misleading workers

PTI reported that Jay Pee Hydropower Company, managing Karchham-Wangtoo and Baspa Stage II hydropower projects in tribal Kinnaur district, accused CITU of exploiting the workers to meet its own political ends and said the firm would come under pressure.

About 1,300 workers of the company are on a strike for about three months to press their demand for increase in salary, regularisation and effective implementation of labour laws under the banner of CITU and some incident of violence has also occurred.

Making it clear that the company could not be blacircuit kilometersailed, Mr Suren Jain, MD, said that the company required only 200 workers during the peak season from May to September and if need arose, workers would be mobilised from other units in different parts of the country.

He said that the strike is 'illegal' as power was a public utility service.

Mr Jain said that "The company is not worried about continuation of the strike as it is in the process of handing over the hydro projects to JSW in next 3 months."

The company alleged that CITU was stopping the workers from returning to work but in spite of its threats 200 workers are back to work.

Source : PTI
Alsons to add over 160 MW in hydro capacity amid renewables push

Business World reported that Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc plans to add over 160 MW of hydropower to its portfolio of generating assets, which is currently dominated by coal and diesel facilities.

Mr Joseph C Nocos, ACR vice-president for business development, said that the company currently has service contracts for renewable energy projects totaling 94 MW.

Mr Nocos said that “We have applied for around 70 MW more in other locations in Mindanao.”

He said that the company’s RE focus will be on hydropower development, given its affordability, sustainability, availability of resource, and proven technology.

Mr Nocos said that “Unlike solar, hydro is less challenging especially in determining its long-term sustainability. Solar is not as simple as putting up a solar panel wherever you want to put, you have to select the most viable location for solar.”

He said that ACR does not have access to expertise on solar power development.

Mr Nocos said that “In contrast, we have access to enough hydro expertise here in the country that is actually helping us identify projects.”

Hydropower projects will take around two years to determine commerciality before starting construction.

He said that “We will spend those two years revalidating the feasibility of these resources. Once these are validated as feasible then we proceed to make the necessary investment decisions that would hopefully lead to construction of project.”

The company’s maiden project will involve a 15 MW to 16 MW hydropower facility in Maasim, Sarangani.

Mr Nocos said that “We are getting ready for the Siguil hydropower project. The feasibility study came back with very encouraging results and it’s very feasible for a 15 to 16 MW plant. This is quite encouraging for us because we have a pipeline of hydro projects that we are currently working on. It shows that we are on the right track.”

The official said the output of the project will likely be sold to the power distributor in South Cotabato.

Asked about the project cost, Mr Nocos said that “We are looking at roughly USD 40 to USD 45 million but this could still change because we are still optimizing the costs.”

Should the first project be successful, ACR will continue growing its renewable energy portfolio.

Mr Nocos said that “We do all these things of course to create value for ACR. We hope that the renewable energy initiative will be received well by investors. I believe that it’s the way to go.”

ACR, through its subsidiaries, primarily engages in power generation, property development, mining and product distribution.

Subsidiaries Southern Philippines Power Corporation and Western Mindanao Power Corporation own and operate diesel facilities: a 55 MW plant in Alabel, Sarangani and a 100 MW plant in Zamboanga City.

It also owns a 103 MW diesel-fueled plant in Iligan City through Mapalad Power Corporation.

The company is building a 210 MW coal fired project in Sarangani and will soon start construction of a 105 MW coal-fired plant in Zamboanga City.

Hedcor eyes three more hydro power projects in Mindanao

An official from Hedcor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, is planning to put up three more hydro power projects in Mindanao.

Mr Rene Ronquillo, president and COO of Hedcor, said that they are looking for the potential sites in Kitao-tao in Bukidnon and Davao City.

He said that "We look for sites that have good hydro potentials, meaning a lot of water in the elevation. Then, check for sites where you don't have other developers who have already got their contracts. The way contracts work, it's first come, first serve basis. The company has yet to determine how much investment the company will pour in for these projects.”

The power firm will push through with the construction only if the Manolo Fortich Hydropower Project will be successful.

Hedcor held last week the groundbreaking for the PHP 13 billion Manolo Fortich Hydropower Project, the biggest for Hedcor so far that is seen to jack up by 2 folds the power firm's generating capacity for Mindanao at its completion after 18 months. The project will also generate 800 jobs.

At present, the generating capacity of the Hedcor's existing 8 hydro power plants stands at 60.57 MW.

This latest project, located at Purok 3 in Barangay Maluko, Manolo Fortich, is comprised of two units operating at the Tagaloan River, classified by the National Water Resources Board as the 13th largest river system in the Philippines.

The Manolo Fortich Hydro 1 with an installed capacity of 43.4 MW will be located at the higher elevation while the Manolo Fortich Hydro 2 will be put up three kilometers away at the lower ground.

Hedcor envisions to generate a total of 2 billion KWH by 2020 of power tapped from water, an energy resource touted as "cleanergy."

However, Mr Ronquillo said that Mindanao still has to address the need of having a proper energy mix, meaning exploring the possibility of putting up more varied energy sources.

He said that coal plants are considered baseload plants but are dependent on imported sources to produce power while hydro is very much reliable on weather and on the level of water in the rivers.

He said that "Mindanao has been quite tight with power. But with incoming coal plants of Aboitiz and other developers, Mindanao should be okay two to three years from now. Aboitiz' strategy is to have proper energy mix develop more hydro and geothermal sites in other parts."

Last year, Hedcor inaugurated two Tudaya Hydroelectric power plants located in the province of Davao del Sur and Davao City.

The combined power capacity of Tudaya Hydro 1 and Tudaya Hydro 2 can reach up to 14 MW, with each plant can generate 6.6 MW and 7 MW, respectively.

Tudaya Hydro 1 is located upstream of the existing Sibulan Hydro A, while Tudaya Hydro 2 operates next to Sibulan Hydro B in Sta. Cruz.

The construction of two hydropower plants started in 2011, with Hedcor pouring in some P1.8 billion for the two hydropower projects.

Tudaya 1 and the four-year old Sibulan Hydro A and Hydro B have been contracted to Davao Light and Power Company, another subsidiary of Aboitiz Power. Meanwhile, Tudaya 2 supplies Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative Inc with 7 MW.

At least 90% of the river's water is used to run the four hydro plants while the remaining 10% is left for the river ecosystem.

Source : SUN STAR
Drastic improvement in hydel power generation

Three hydel power stations operated by the Water and Power Development Authority delivered 110.190 million units of electricity to the national grid on Friday compared to 64.037 million units generated the same day last year, an increased contribution of 46.153 million units.

This increase in hydel power generation is the result of increased water releases from the dams by Irsa.

According to the data, Tarbela hydel power station generated 43.809 million units compared to 17.882 million units on May 8th last year. Ghazi Barotha hydel power station produced 25.740 million units compared to 14.455 million units on the same day last year, whereas 24 million units were generated by Mangla hydel power station compared to 15.760 million units on the same day last year.

The basic purpose of dams is to provide water for agriculture as required by the provinces, whereas hydel electricity generation is merely the by-product. The electricity generation from hydel power stations depends upon water indents of Irsa. This increased quantum of electricity was produced due to increased water outflows.

The hydel power generation capacity of Wapda stands at about 7,000 MW about one-third of the total installed capacity in the country.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that despite some of hydel power stations being as old as 50 years, the generation capacity of Wapda has stayed intact due to proper maintenance and efficient operation of these stations. Wapda contributes more than 30 billion units of low-cost electricity to the national grid per annum. The role being played by hydel electricity in keeping the power tariff at present level can be measured from the fact that according to data of January 2015, per unit generation cost of hydel electricity is merely INR 2.62 on an average as compared to INR 7.43 for gas, INR 12.91 for coal, INR 12.98 for baggase, INR 17.58 for furnace oil, INR 23.43 for diesel, INR 5.98 for nuclear and INR 11.62 for wind. As per data the basket price of electricity in the system stands at Rs10.03 per unit.

The National Transmission and Dispatch Company, under its transmission enhancements investment programme, has started a vital project of 600km long 500 KV Jamshoro-Moro-Dadu to Rahim Yar Khan transmission line and 500 KV Switching Station at Moro along with necessary extensions at existing 500 KV substations of Jamshoro, Dadu and Rahim Yar Khan with an estimated cost of USD 180 million funded by ADB.

The NTDCL spokesman said that this important project is part of NTDCL’s overall power development programme which will be completed in December 2016. The main objective of the project is enhancement and extension of NTDC’s existing system to provide appropriate facilities for dispersal of power proposed to be generated from southern part of the country to the load centers to meet the power demand of the country.

Whereas the bulk power generation has been planned in southern area based on imported coal near Karachi, local coal in Thar area and wind power plants of Sindh. Dilating upon the salients of the project, the spokesman said that for timely completion, the project has been bifurcated into two packages. Package-I has been divided into three Lots. 202 kilometer transmission line will be constructed from Jamshoro to Moro under Lot–I, whereas 232 Km long transmission from Dadu-Moro to Goth Qazi Mahar under Lot-II and 166 km transmission line will be constructed from Goth Qazi Mahar to Rahim Yar Khan under Lot–III. Whereas, under package II, a 500 KV Switching Station at Moro will be constructed besides extension works at existing 500 KV Substations at Jamshoro, Dadu and Rahim Yar Khan.

He said that the NTDC managing director has directed NTDC engineers and Chinese contractors to speed up the construction work and complete the project well in time. He said the project was being implemented by Chief Engineer NTDC and supervised by Nespak.

Source : The Dawn
BHEL commissions 82.5 MW hydro unit in Uttarakhand

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has successfully commissioned the first unit of 82.5 MW at the upcoming Shrinagar Hydro Electric Project in Uttarakhand. The greenfield hydro electric project consisting of four units of 82.5 MW each is being set up by Alaknanda Hydro Power Corporation Limited.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
French utility ESL seeks construction of 2.2MW Fontenau hydro project

Hydro World reported that French local utility Energies Services Lavaur seeks bids to equip and construct the 2.2 MW Fontenau hydroelectric project adjacent to a weir on the Agout River at Lavaur. Bids are due June 15th.

The French town of Carcassone recently called for bids by June 2 to reconstruct Paicherou Dam and design, finance, construct and operate a hydropower project at Carcassone.

In other recent activity in France, hydropower engineer Hydrostadium seeks bids by June 15 to replace turbines for the 3.2 MW Mesce hydroelectric project and the Pyrenees-Orientales Department seeks bids June 11 for operation, monitoring and maintenance of dams and hydroelectric plants in that department.

ESL now seeks bids for construction of the Fontenau project, including a 14 meter-tall dam, two 1.1 MW Kaplan turbines, crane, fish screens, fish passage and an eel ladder. The work is expected to be performed from October 2015 through July 2018.

Source : Hydro World
BHEL adds 736 MW hydro power capacity in 2014 to 2015

Business Line reported that power equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has cemented its hold in the hydro power space accounting for the entire capacity addition of 736 MW hydro power during last fiscal.

The company is in the process of executing hydro power projects close to 4,600 MW that are in various stages of execution.

In its filings with the stock exchanges, BHEL said that it had commissioned six hydro power generating sets aggregating 736 MW that accounted for 100 per cent of the hydro power capacity addition during last fiscal.

This also marked the highest capacity addition in the hydro power space in a single year in the past decade by BHEL. BHEL said that it reached the new milestone by commissioning projects of three large Central power utilities - NTPC, NHPC and SJVNL.

BHEL said that it had also booked orders for Tehri Hydro Development Corporation India Ltd’s 4 x 111 MW Vishnugad Pipalkoti HEP and NTPC’s 3 x 40 MW Rammam HEP stage- III, aggregating 564 MW during 2014 to 2015.

The company jas the distinction of commissioning more than 19,600 MW of hydro power generation capacity in India and is currently executing hydro power projects of about 4,600 MW that were under different stages of execution.

Source : Business Line
Bhutan to continue hydropower capacity augmentation

Economic Times reported that legislators in Bhutan have favoured increased harnessing of the country's untapped green energy potential, a significant part of which could come to power deficient India under an energy cooperation deal.

Power demand in India, which has an installed capacity of about 270,000 MW, is expected to touch 950,000 MW by 2030. Bhutan, on the other hand, has an installed capacity of just about 1,500 MW but has potential of producing 24,000 MW of energy.

Mr Dasho Tsering Wangda, Consul General of Bhutan in India, said that "In this situation, a strong handshake between the two countries can be a win-win situation for both. Bhutan's has a major objective to achieve 10,000 MW additional installed capacity under co-operation with India. The output will be given to India by 2020."

In a recent report on public debt management, the Royal Audit Authority raised concerns on increasing hydro debt. At present, that alone stands at about INR 8,150 crore or 70% of the total national debt.

A senior executive in the Indian power sector, who did not wish to be named, said that "The report generated subtle apprehension about Bhutan's taking a slow path on fresh hydropower development projects to limit its hydro debt."

But, Mr W Norbu, former finance minister and present National Assembly MP from Bartsham Shongphu constituency, considered Bhutan's debt situation as in moderate risk of distress because of strong track record of project implementation or continuous support from donors.

Mr K Wangchuk, former trade minister, referred to possible earning of about INR 7,400 crore from the next 6 hydropower projects in the pipeline as a strong enough source to bring down the debt situation to favourable levels. Mr Wangchuk reprsents Lamgong Wangchang constituency in Bhutan's National Assembly.

Bhutan power ministry officials said that "With these opinions of the public representatives, we do not expect any possible change to come in this objective as outcome of the audit report."

Source : Economic Times
Construction underway for hydroelectric dam at Lake Red Rock

KCCI News reported that construction is underway on a massive hydroelectric dam at Lake Red Rock, just a few miles outside Pella.
The lake is already a great place to go fishing and boating, and it will be just a few years until it will be used to power 18,000 homes.

Construction on the USD 380 million project began in August 2014.

Mr Ted Loynachan said that “When they're working, you hear a lot of noise down here.”

Mr Loynachan worked on the dam when it was first built more than 50 years ago. He said that “I was right in the intake of this site here when [John F.] Kennedy was shot. It's a project Pella Mayor Mr James Mueller has been watching from the beginning. I think they're very excited about this.”

The dam will soon generate more than 36 MW of energy to power 18,000 homes.

Mr Mueller said that the clean, hydroelectric energy certainly beats the old coal-fired power plant.

He said that “I’m really looking forward to the first time that they really hook up and flip the switch and we start generating some power out of the plant.”

Proponents said that it will stabilize energy resources for the next 40 years or more, generating hundreds of jobs along the way. The completion date for this project is set for spring of 2018.

Source : KCCI News
Alstom wins contract for Minidoka hydropower plant turbine overhaul

It is reported that the US Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a USD 5.3 million contract to Alstom Power Inc to overhaul two turbines at the Allen E Inman power plant at the 28.5 MW Minidoka hydroelectric plant.

Reclamation most recently sought bids for the work in December as part of ongoing rehabilitation of Minidoka.

Per the tender, Alstom will refurbish the horizontal turbine runners of Units 8 and 9, including furnishing and installing new mechanical seals, and furnishing and installing new digital governors.

Reclamation recruited firms in 2013 to repair gate equipment at Minidoka Dam, an 86 foot-tall zoned earthfill structure that began operating in 1909. It awarded a USD 21.32 million contract to Record Steel and Construction Inc in 2011 to construct new spillways and canal headworks.

Minidoka is located on the Snake River in Idaho. USBR celebrated the completion of a new spillway at the plant with a public ceremony earlier this week.

Source :
Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project accident kills 4 labourers

The Dawn reported that at least 4 labourers were killed and 10 others, including 2 Chinese engineers, were wounded Monday when a blast occurred inside a tunnel at a construction site for a major dam project in Mujohi area near Azad Jammu and Kashmir's capital city of Muzaffarabad.

A tunnel boring machine was engaged in excavation work when the explosion occurred killing 4 labourers on the spot and wounding 10 others. The wounded also included two Chinese engineers.

The victims, who hailed from nearby villages, were shifted to Combined Military Hospital Muzaffarabad.

The cause of the explosion was not known but such incidents occur when boring machines strike a gas pocket while excavating.

The 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project was scheduled to become operational by the end of 2016 but the deadline might not be met due to hostile contractors and other financial issues.

Source : The Dawn
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