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EDP buys two projects in Brazil

EDP Energias do Brasil, the Brazilian holding company of Energias de Portugal (EDP), has acquired two hydro projects in Mato Grosso state, from local group Bertin, with a total capacity of 49.5 MW.

Although the value of the deal was not disclosed, total investments in the projects are estimated at BRL304 million (US$179 million), with 18.5% of the total to be disbursed in 2010, another 46.5% in 2011, and 35% in 2012, Business News Americas reports.

The price of the power sold by the plants is reportedly set at BRL150/MWh ($91/MWh) over a 10-year period, starting in 2013.

Weir acquires American Hydro Corp.

The Weir Group plc has acquired American Hydro Corp., a manufacturer of hydroelectric turbine components.

Based in York, Pennsylvania, USA, American Hydro achieved sales of US$42.9 million in 2009 and had gross assets of US$29.2 million at the end of 2009, according to a Weir statement.

Nicaragua sharpening up hydropower with Italian design

Italy-based turbine designer and manufacturer Franco Tosi Meccanica SpA has won a €40 million (US$53 million) contract to rehabilitate Nicaragua's two 50 MW hydro stations — Santa Barbara and Centroamerica. Each plant contains two 25 MW Francis turbine groups.

Under the terms of the contract Franco Tosi is modernize the turbines, rehabilitate the generators, and supply automation, control, and substation electric systems, as well as data transmission and communications.

The customer is Empresa Nicaraguense de Electricidad, the country's state-owned power generator, and the objective is to extend both plants' useful life by 25 years.

Modernization plans for CEZ

A large-scale modernization program of all its hydroelectric power stations in the Czech Republic has been unveiled by CEZ, the semi-state power group.

CEZ plans to increase the capacity of its hydro plants by 60 GWh in the next 12 years, under a strategy related to the Czech Republic's commitments toward the EU to extend power production from renewable sources.

Tekeze hydro project among Power Engineering Projects of the Year

The Tekeze hydro project in Ethiopia has won the renewable/sustainable project category in the Power Engineering 2010 Projects of the Year Awards.

Sister magazine to HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide, Power Engineering named the Tekeze project the winner at the POWER-GEN International conference and exhibition in Orlando, Florida, USA.

The winners and honorable mentions produced facilities and/or technologies that ushered in breakthrough solutions in four categories, including renewable/sustainable.

Located on the Tekeze River, the US$350 million project, funded by the government and owned by Ethiopian Electric Power Corp., adds 40% more energy to the country and was the largest public works project in Ethiopia's history at the time of construction. It includes the tallest arch dam in Africa at 188 meters, creating a reservoir 70 km long. An underground powerhouse containing four 75 MW Francis turbines is fed by a 75 meter-high intake structure connected by a 500 meter-long concrete-lined power tunnel. A 105 km-long 230 kV double-circuit transmission line was constructed to connect it to the Ethiopian grid.

Andritz Hydro orders

International technology group Andritz has received a series of orders to supply electromechanical equipment for new hydropower plants:

Hissmofors, Sweden: The order for Jamtkraft's Hissmofors plant, located 20 km west of Ostersund in central Sweden, includes delivery of two 34 MW Kaplan turbines, two synchronous generators, and additional equipment. Commissioning of the plant is scheduled for the end of 2013.

Pare, India: Under a contract with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd. (NEEPCO), Andritz will deliver equipment for the Pare plant in Arunachal Pradesh. The scope of supply comprises design, delivery, installation, and commissioning of two 55 MW vertical Francis turbines, generators, main inlet valves, control and protection system, power and control cables, and additional equipment. The order is expected to be completed at the end of 2013.

Hills Creek, USA: The US Army Corps of Engineers awarded this contract to refurbish the Hills Creek plant in Oakridge, Oregon. The order includes model testing, supply of two 16 MW vertical Francis runners, hydromechanical equipment, rewind of both generators, and refurbishment of additional power plant equipment. Recommissioning is scheduled for 2014.

Rio Macho, Costa Rica: Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) awarded a contract to supply electromechanical equipment for the modernization of Rio Macho units 1 and 2, installed in 1959 and 1963, respectively. The scope of supply includes two 18 MW horizontal Pelton turbines, generators, automation, and additional equipment. This refurbishment, scheduled for completion in 2013, will increase plant output by about 8%, the company says.

Rio Vouga, Portugal: Under a contract from Electricidade de Portugal (EDP), Andritz Hydro will supply equipment for the Ribeiradio and Ermida stations to be built on the Rio Vouga River. Commissioning is planned for early 2014. For Ribeiradio, Andritz will supply a 77 MW Francis turbine, while Ermida will contain two 3.8 MW double-regulated compact axial turbines. The scope of supply also includes synchronous generators, control systems, hydromechanical equipment, and electrical and mechanical auxiliary systems.

CONTRACT AWARD


Cavico secures Vietnam contracts

A series of contracts have been awarded to Vietnam's Cavico Corp.

The company's subsidiary, Cavico Hydropower Construction, has signed a tunnel construction contract with Song Giang Hydropower Joint Stock Co. for the Song 24 MW Giang 1 plant in Vietnam's Khanh Hoa Province.

Song Giang Hydropower Joint Stock expects to invest US$23.2 million in Song Giang, a twin-unit plant.

The cost-adjustable contract is valued at about US$7.75 million, Cavico says. Under the terms of the deal, Cavico will excavate and construct 3,505 meters of tunnels, 3 meters wide, and a 40 meter-high surge tank that will measure 10 meters in diameter.

Cavico Corp. also announced that subsidiary Cavico Bridge and Tunnel has signed a construction contract with Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), a state-owned electricity company, for the 100 MW Song Bung 2 project.

The contract is valued at US$6 million and includes cost escalation clauses that may increase the revenues associated with the project. Under this contract, Cavico will be responsible for construction of three tunnels, a surge tank, and a powerhouse. Cavico expects to complete construction by 2014. (For more on this, see page 14.)

In addition, Cavico Hydropower has broken through the main tunnel at the 340 MW Dong Nai 4 project. The tunnel is 5 km long and 10 meters in diameter. The twin-unit plant contains the widest tunnel in Vietnam and is located in the Bao Lam district of Lam Dong Province.

EVN has invested US$301 million in the plant, with Cavico's contract valued at some US$26.6 million.

FINANCE


Georgia secures EIB funding for plant rehab

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced it is lending €20 million (US$25.9 million) to Georgia to finance the completion of rehabilitation of the 1,250 MW Enguri plant and Vardnili hydropower cascade.

Enguri, the largest hydro plant in the region, is on the administrative border of breakaway Abkhazia. Its generators are on the Abkhaz side and its arch dam is in Georgian-controlled territory. (For more on this project, see page 14.)

Privatization consultant sought for Albanian hydro plants

A unit of the World Bank has invited consultants to help implement the privatization of five hydro plants in Albania under the auspices of the World Bank's International Finance Corp. IFC was approached by the government of Albania to act as lead transaction adviser for privatization of the five plants, which total 81.7 MW. It in turn is looking for a consultant to help it structure and implement the privatization program.

Financing secured for Cheves in Peru

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide long-term financing of up to US$250 million to help build the 168 MW Cheves project in Peru, developer SN Power has announced.

SN Power, through project company Empresa de Generación Eléctrica Cheves SA, will build and operate the plant on the Huaura River. Completion of the project is projected for 2014.

ONLINE REPORT


Brazil launches third unit of Foz do Chapeco

Brazil's Foz do Chapeco plant has launched commercial operations at its third of four generating units. Commercial operation was authorized by electric power regulator Aneel, following successful test results. The first unit began commercial operations in October 2010 and the second in November 2010.

The 855 MW plant is 51% owned by utility group CPFL Energia and sits on the border of southern states Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Furnas holds a 40% stake in the plant, and local power company CEEE holds the remaining 9%.

First turbine operating at Son La in Vietnam

The first of six turbines at Vietnam's US$2 billion 2,400 MW Son La station has been grid connected.

The plant is expected to be fully operational by 2012, three years ahead of a target set by the National Assembly. Construction began in December 2005.

Elsewhere, groundbreaking has been completed for the US$1.8 billion, 1,200 MW Lai Chau project, regional media report. Located in Lai Chau Province and owned by EVN, it is expected to start generating in 2017.

POLICY


Assessment tool developed for Mekong River Basin

Several multilateral agencies have launched an assessment tool that helps identify the most sustainable sites, designs, and operation rules for hydropower development in the lower Mekong River Basin.

The Rapid Basin-wide Hydropower Sustainable Development Tool (RSAT), unveiled by the Asian Development Bank, Mekong River Commission (MRC), and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), allows for hydro projects to be assessed in a basin-wide context rather than on a case-by-case basis, its developers report.

The tool uses existing social, environmental, cultural, economic, and financial information about a river basin to make the assessment.

RSAT seeks to enhance existing tools and processes such as Environmental Impact Assessments and Management Plans rather than replacing them, and works by bringing together different sectors and institutions.

It can be used as a checklist for preliminary assessments, a framework for risk assessment, to facilitate dialogue among different groups and identify capacity-building needs, for training and for skills development.

Germany, Finland, and the USA are providing financial support for the initiative.

First turbine operating at Son La in Vietnam

The first of six turbines at Vietnam's US$2 billion 2,400 MW Son La station has been grid connected.

The plant is expected to be fully operational by 2012, three years ahead of a target set by the National Assembly. Construction began in December 2005.

Elsewhere, groundbreaking has been completed for the US$1.8 billion, 1,200 MW Lai Chau project, regional media report. Located in Lai Chau Province and owned by EVN, it is expected to start generating in 2017.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT


Lifting the curtain on Russia's hydro

A series of contract developments appears to signal continued bouyancy in the Russian hydropower sector.

Power Machines, the Russian energy equipment company, has signed an agreement to supply an additional five turbines to RusHydro for the 2,300 MW Zhigulyovskaya GES hydro installation.

Power Machines says it plans to supply the equipment through to the end of 2016. In September 2010, Power Machines signed a RUB11.5 billion (US$408 million) agreement to supply nine turbines for the plant, which is located in Russia's Samara region.

Meanwhile, Alstom has announced the signing of strategic agreements with Russian energy companies to jointly provide power generation products, including hydropower, with RusHydro JSC.

The agreement covers four key areas: Reconstruction and modernization of the Kubanski cascade; cooperation on development of hydropower; cooperation in R&D, and investment; and local manufacturing of hydropower equipment in the Republic of Bashkortostan.

The Kubanski cascade upgrade includes installation of a new instrumentation and control system, as well as a site security system.

And, in another development, RusHydro has now consolidated a holding of about 25% of the 6,000 MW JSC Krasnoyarsk, the second-largest hydro project in Russia. The deal was carried out through a swap of 4.53% of JSC RusHydro's shares from the balance of JSC Hydroinvest, a subsidiary of JSC RusHydro.

Acquiring this stake will create operational synergy between the Krasnoyarsk plant and RusHydro, and more efficient cooperation between Krasnoyarsk and retail company JSC Krasnoyarskenergosbyt, RusHydro said.

In related news, Russian group Technopromexport has signed a contract to buy equipment for the construction of the 22 MW Polotsk plant in Belarus. Czech firm Mavel is expected to supply five turbines.

China's 2,600 MW Changheba approved

The 2,600 MW Changheba project in western China's Sichuan Province has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), wire services report. (For more information on this project, see the feature on hydroelectricity in Asia, page 14.)

In addition, China has been working to dam the Brahmaputra River in Tibet to begin construction of a 510 MW project, regional media reports. This is the first major dam on the Brahmaputra, and China has called it a landmark hydropower generation project for the autonomous region's development.

Hydropower on the increase in the UK

There has been a six-fold increase in the number of hydro projects planned in England and Wales since 2008, the government's Environment Agency (EA) announced.

That number is likely to rise again this year as the application process to install hydro schemes is simplified. In 2010, licenses were granted for 65 hydro schemes, compared with 10 in 2008, the EA said.

This year, it will also be more straightforward to make an application, with EA teams providing early advice to help developers produce well-designed, sustainable schemes, they say in a statement.

The EA has been working with industry, anglers, non-governmental organizations, and landowners on ways to improve the permitting process. These improvements, implemented in response to the growing interest in hydro, will not need any changes to the legal framework supporting the various required permissions, the government says.

About 350 hydropower schemes are currently licensed in England and Wales, and EA estimates that this number could rise to about 1,200 by 2020.

Zambia raises hydro capacity plans

Following on from initial studies, Zambia has upgraded the capacity of its planned Kafue Gorge plant to more than 700 MW, from the originally planned 600 MW.

Construction of the US$1.5 billion plant is now expected to start by June 2011 and be completed as planned by mid-2016. Developers are expected to borrow the initial investment of US$1 billion from China, with the remaining US$500 million required coming from the equity partners in the development.

Elsewhere in Zambia, the power supplier to the country's mining industry is moving forward with plans to build the 40 MW Kabompo Gorge project on the Kabompo River in its North-Western Province.

Copperbelt Energy Corp. (CEC) said it completed preliminary investigations to support preparation of tender documents for the project.

A 2008 government-awarded development concession for Kabompo Gorge was won by CEC and Tata Africa Holdings Ltd., a unit of India's Tata Group. The project is said to include a dam and water tunnels, a power station, an 80 km transmission line to the nearest grid substation, employee housing, and other facilities.

Brazil ties up with Tanzania in major hydro plant development

Tanzania is planning to construct a US$2 billion hydropower plant in partnership with Brazil.

According to wire service reports, officials from Tanzania held talks with their Brazilian counterparts in Sao Paolo in 2010 on the construction of the proposed 2,100 MW Stiegler's Gorge station, in Tanzania.

Producing at a cost of about 2 US cents/kWh, the plant would also help to control flooding in the Rufiji area and create a reservoir with a capacity of 34 billion m3 to supply Dar es Salaam and other regions, wire reports indicate.

The government is considering funding options, such as concessional loans, private investment, or state financing.

Brazil will provide the technology to build the plant, with the feasibility study to be updated in 2011 and the first of three 700 MW turbines to be installed in 2012. Full project completion is projected for 2015.

Pumped-storage plants move ahead

German firms RWE and RAG have signed a letter of intent to co-develop integrated pumped-storage and wind projects at RAG's coal slag heaps in North Rhine Westphalia.

A pilot project is proposed at RAG's waste dump at Halde, near Hamm-Pelkum, with detailed planning beginning as early as 2011.

The concept would integrate intermittent wind output with the flexible response of pumped-storage hydro by pumping from a low-lying reservoir to a reservoir on top of the waste heap, some 50 meters higher up.

An 18-month timeframe has been outlined for the companies to examine wind conditions, permitting issues, and costs for the project.

Elsewhere in Germany, utility group E.ON AG plans to invest about €250 million (US$328.8 million) to expand the Waldeck 2 pumped-storage project.

E.ON will begin building a new 300 MW plant next to the existing Waldeck 2 facility in 2012. Like Waldeck 2, the new plant will have an underground turbine room.

Construction is expected to take four years, with the new capacity entering service in 2016. After completion of the new plant, the Waldeck site will have a capacity of about 920 MW, the company said.

In a related storage development, Voith Hydro, leading a consortium with Siemens Portugal, has secured a €122 million ($161 million) contract from Energias de Portugal to supply the complete electromechanical equipment for two reversible pumped-storage units at Portugal's Venda Nova III project.

Voith Hydro will supply two variable speed pumped-storage units, each rated at 380 MW in turbine mode, as well as two asynchronous motor generators rated at 420 MVa, and other equipment.

Development contract in Georgia

Georgia's government has awarded a US$150 million project to Turkey's Kolin Construction, Tourism Industry and Trading Co. Inc., the Energy Ministry has said.

Over an anticipated four years, Kolin will build a cascade of four plants with a minimum total of 105.7 MW on the Tekhuri River in the Samegrelo region of western Georgia, the ministry said. (For more, see page 14.)

China, Myanmar, Thailand to study 7,000 MW hydro project

Proposals for a 7,000 MW hydro project are to be studied by China, Myanmar, and Thailand. The US$10 billion project would be built on the Salween River in Myanmar over 15 years and would be Southeast Asia's largest by capacity, China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a statement.

China Three Gorges Corp., Sinohydro Corp., and China Southern Power Grid Co. will work with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and International Group of Entrepreneur Co. in Myanmar on the study.

China is planning to add hydropower capacity in its southern provinces and to help build projects in neighboring countries, including Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, to meet demand from the region.

Recently, China announced plans to boost its installed hydroelectric capacity to 300 GW by 2015 from the current 200 GW in an effort to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Government officials told media outlets that such an expansion is needed for China's goal to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40% to 45% by 2020.

In other news from the region, Laos has inaugurated 1,070 MW Nam Theun 2, the largest hydro project in Laos. The $1.45 billion project is co-owned by Electricite de France, the Lao government, the Electricity Generating Public Co. of Thailand, and Italian-Thai Development.

Turkey continues to advance hydro

Statkraft's Kargi plant in Turkey, a 102 MW turnkey hydro scheme that is scheduled to be completed by end of 2013, will use Voith Hydro electromechanical equipment.

As consortium leader, Voith Hydro is responsible for the engineering, supply, and commissioning of two vertical Francis turbines with a rated capacity of 51.8 MW each, as well as generators, inlet valves and plant control systems. The contract's value was not disclosed.

Located on the Kizilirmak River in Corum province, Kargi is Statkraft's second plant in Turkey. It is being developed by wholly-owned subsidiary Akel Enerji A.S.

Meanwhile, Turkey-based IC Ictas Holding is reportedly set to invest US$1.14 billion in 17 hydro plants in Turkey with a combined capacity of 510 MW.

The construction of four of the hydro plants has already been completed, wires reports indicate.

IC reportedly said that half of the investment was secured in loans, having recently announced signing of a 13-year loan accord with two Turkish lenders for US$253 million, which it said will be used for the Bagistas plant and dam project in eastern Turkey. Total investment for the project is estimated at US$338 million.

Brazil developing hydro projects

Initial construction work for the 11,200 MW Belo Monte project in Brazil's Amazon has been approved by Brazil's environment agency, Ibama, wire services report.

To be built on the Xingu River in the state of Para, Belo Monte is expected to begin producing in 2015, at a cost of about BRL20 billion (US$11.2 billion) in development.

In August 2010, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed the concession contract for construction of the project. Norte Energia, the consortium that won the auction, is made up of state-run utility holding company Eletrobras, Brazil's second-largest pension fund, Petros, and several local construction companies.

Elsewhere, Brazil's Parana state power firm Copel has signed the concession agreement with the Brazilian mines and energy ministry to build and operate the 300 MW Colider project, news agencies report.

Copel will invest about BRL1.3 billion ($778 million) in Colider, which will be located in the Brazilian center-western state of Mato Grosso. The plant is planned to come online in December 2014.

Copel won the project in a government auction, apparently offering the lowest power rate at some BRL103.40/MWh ($62.80/MWh), Business News Americas had previously reported.

Another Brazilian state-run power company, Eletrobras Furnas, says it expects to launch test operations at the 334 MW Simplicio project in the first quarter of 2011.

The BRL2.2 billion ($1.2 billion) facility — in the state of Minas Gerais — is owned and operated by Furnas, which was granted a BRL1 billion ($608 million) loan by federal development bank BNDES in 2009.

Gabon, partners to build hydropower plant

Gabon's Ministry of Energy, the United Bank for Africa, and the Company for the Development of Renewable Energy are partnering to build a 36 MW hydropower plant in Gabon, media reports indicate.

With an estimated budget of US$234 million, the project is due to be complete within 30 months.

United Bank for Africa's director reportedly said the project and a sister project at Imperatrice Dam are expected to stimulate Gabon's economic activity.

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