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Romanian companies advance small hydro projects

Hydro developer SC Hidro Este SRL is working to construct four small projects in Romania.

As an EU member, Romania is obligated to attempt to supply a minimum of 35% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, including hydropower, by 2015 and 38% by 2020.

SC Hidro Este plans to build the Pascoaia 1, 2, and 3 projects on the Pascoaia River and Priboiasa 1 on the Priboiasa River. The projects are anticipated to cost RON38.2 million (US$13.2 million) to build and RON27.6 million ($9.6 million) to equip. This includes turbines, generators, transformers, and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

In other news, Romania hydro development company Rott Energy s.r.l. plans to develop a portfolio of 25 small projects totaling 40 MW.

Rott Energy said it is working with consultant Price Waterhouse Coopers to obtain EU funding for two of the projects, of 1.7 MW and 2 MW, for which it already holds permits. The 1.7 MW plant is to be built at Alba and would feature two powerhouses, each containing a Pelton turbine. The plant would have annual generation of 8,035 MWh and an estimated investment of €3.2 million ($4.6 million).

The company said its shareholders have wide experience in the Romania business environment but little experience in hydropower. Construction is due to begin soon on its first two plants, and General Manager Octavian Manastireanu said Rott seeks an investment partner with experience in hydropower and development funding. Rott proposes to assign 50% to 100% of each project to this partner.

Work under way at two Swiss hydro projects

Swiss utility Gruyere Energie SA is working to refurbish generating units at the 4.5 MW Charmey hydro project on the Jogne River.

Gruyere Energie produces nearly 12% of its electricity from Charmey, which was built in 1893 and relocated in 1957.

The utility will renovate and automate three generating units in three lots: Lot 1 turbines; Lot 2 generators; Lot 3 control group, automation and pipe work.

In addition, Swiss utility Romande Energie plans to redevelop the 725 kW Rivaz 2 project on Forestay Creek at Forestay Falls in the Lavaux District.

Romande Energie, which serves 280,000 electricity customers in 318 municipalities, is expanding its renewable energy portfolio, including hydropower.

Romande plans a CHF5 million (US$5.6 million) redevelopment of Rivaz, the site of a historic mill above Lake Geneva, to utilize the full 183 meters of Forestay Falls, compared to 63 meters previously. The new project would increase generation capacity seven times to 2,500 MWh per year.

Pumped-storage scheme planned for island of Alderney

Tidal energy developer Alderney Renewable Energy is planning a small pumped-storage project on the island of Alderney in the Channel Islands, media reports indicate.

The 3 MW scheme would use tidal devices to power a system that would pump sea water into a land-based reservoir before releasing the water through at least one hydro turbine, reports indicate. The pumped-storage scheme would supply an estimated 90% of the island's power demands.

The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy.

Recently, ARE signed an agreement to lease a site near Braye Harbour, Alderney, as the site of the turbine pump house and reservoir. ARE has begun an environmental impact assessment to obtain marine consent from the Alderney Commission for Renewable Energy. The project could be completed by 2012.

Work advances on France's 1 MW Cavaletade project

The city of Toulouse is working to build the 1 MW Cavaletade project, proposed for the Garonne River in Toulouse.

The city of Toulouse currently is seeking companies to supply and install all electromechanical equipment, including a turbine-generator, controls, oil and grease, manuals, operating instructions, maintenance and training. Once electromechanical equipment is selected, the city plans to seek bids for civil engineering, gates and auxiliary equipment to be installed at the existing dam.

Development under way at two plants in Norway

Norwegian consultant Norconsult AS is spearheading development of the 5.6 MW Nye Folkedal project in Norway.

Nye Folkedal (New Folkedal) is to replace Hardanger Energi AS's 950 kW Folkedal project, which was built in 1939 and upgraded in 1962, on the Folkedal River in Hordaland County.

Work to be performed includes restoration of the existing dam and construction of a 900 meter-long tunnel and power station, as well as drilling of a 330 meter-long shaft. The work is valued at NOK45 million (US$8.3 million).

Norconsult also plans to install two Pelton turbines with synchronous generators, controls, two main stop valves, inlet pipes, a cooling water system, and electro-technical equipment for the dam. The company hired to do this also will provide project management and administration, engineering design, procurement, installation, testing and commissioning. The work is valued at NOK9.5 million to 14 million ($1.7 million to $2.6 million).

In other news, Norway utility Lofotkraft Produksjon AS is working to replace the turbine and other equipment for the 4.2 MW Solbjorn project at Moinarodden. Lofotkraft seeks a 5 MW turbine, governor, and control plan for Solbjorn, which was built in 1956.

China reveals plans to build 11 small hydro projects

Yichang City Project Management Office for Small Hydropower Project is working to build 11 small projects in China's Hubei Province.

Under the European Investment Bank's China Climate Change Framework Loan, the office has applied for €44 million (US$63.8 million) from China's Finance Ministry to build the Hubei Province Yichang City Small Hydropower Development Project. China said in 2009 it would develop 10 small hydro projects in Hubei Province with EIB funding.

The 11 projects are: Chinan, Qilinguan 1, Qilinguan 2, Tangjiahe 1, Tangjiahe 2, Wangjiahe 1, Wangjiahe 2 and Wangjiahe 3 in Wufeng County and Changfeng, Erchakou and Xujiaping in Changyang County.

EBRD boosts small hydro development in Macedonia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will lend Macedonia €6 million (US$8.7 million) for small hydro plant development, news agencies report.

Macedonian PCC Hydro DOOEL Skopje, a renewable energy company owned by German PCC DEG Renewables GmbH, will get the loan for four plants with a total capacity of 4.1 MW.

PCC DEG Renewables GmbH, a joint venture between German company PCC SE and DEG-Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, plans to build small hydro plants in Macedonia, Bulgaria and Bosnia with a total capacity of 16 MW over the next two years.

India state to develop 11 small hydro projects

State utility Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (UJVNL) is working to develop 11 small projects in India's Uttarakhand State totaling 84.85 MW.

UJVNL said detailed reports are available for the projects, whose land case proposals are in progress. The developer is to be responsible for land lease agreement, financing, design and engineering, construction, and operation and maintenance on a build-own-operate-transfer basis. Not more than three projects are to be allocated to an individual developer.

The projects are: 21 MW Khutani and 11.1 MW Seraghat (previously 8 MW Sheragat) in the Sarju Valley; 19.8 MW Balgad and 1 MW Birthi in the Eastern Ramganga Valley; 2.25 MW Byaligaon, 17 MW Nayar, 2 MW Santudhar 1 and 2 MW Santudhar 2 (previously Santoodhar 1 and 2) in the Nayar Valley; 4 MW Kho 2 and 3.7 MW Kho 3 in the Kho Valley; and 1 MW Purkul in the Tons Valley.

Egehid to operate Los Toros in Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic state hydropower generator Egehid has signed an agreement with the national water resources institute Indrhi to take over operation of the 9.7 MW Los Toros plant.

The plant is in the southern province of Azua and uses water from the San Juan and Yaque del Sur rivers. It connects to the national grid at a substation on kilometer 15 of the Azua-Barahona highway that belongs to state power holding company CDEEE.

Rwanda to study pico-hydro, micro-hydro market

The Global Village Energy Partnership International (GVEP) plans to hire a consultant to assess the potential commercial market for off-grid hydro plants of less than 50 kW of generating capacity in Rwanda.

GVEP, a consultant to the World Bank, is a charity devoted to finding market-based solutions to energy poverty in developing countries. It seeks a consultant to evaluate demand, client requirements, supply options and constraints in order to form a sector strategy for pico- (up to 5 kW) and micro-hydro.

Burundi to rehabilitate Rwegura, Nyemanga

Regie de Production et de Distribution d'Eau et d'Electricite (REGIDESO), Burundi's water and electric utility, plans to rehabilitate the 18 MW Rwegura and 1.44 MW Nyemanga projects.

The government received a grant for this and other hydro work from the World Bank's International Development Association for an emergency electricity sector project, Projet d'Urgence pour le Secteur Electricite (PURSE).

Rehabilitation will include mechanical, electromechanical, and automation equipment.

RusHydro to develop hydro potential of Altay Republic

JSC RusHydro has created a new wholly-owned subsidiary, JSC Malye GES Altaya, to oversee construction of a pilot small hydro project in the Altay Republic.

The primary share issue of the subsidiary received state registration on March 4, 2011. The corporate action was made in order to proceed with a pilot project involving construction of the Chibit facility included in the company's investment program.

Preparations are under way at the construction site and the first stage of surveying is complete. Drilling and field studies equipment is on site. The geodetic, construction, drilling and surveying works of the second stage are also in progress.

The preliminary project design specifications and estimates were purchased by ZAO HydroEngineering Siberia (RusHydro Group) from local authorities of Altay Republic in October 2010.

In July 2010, the government of the Altay Republic and RusHydro signed an agreement on cooperation in development of small hydro generation in the region, with Chibit as pilot project. The project is included in the company's investment pipeline.

Nile group to study Tanzania's Mara River projects

The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) plans to hire a consultant to perform an independent environmental and social assessment of two small multipurpose dams in the Mara River Basin of Tanzania.

The Mara River Basin Management Project already is in advanced stages of recruiting a consultant to undertake feasibility studies for the two projects. NBI's Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) envisages preparation of an investment project through feasibility studies for multi-purpose regional water storage infrastructure that could include hydroelectric power, flood control, water supply, irrigation, fisheries and recreation.

The consultant will undertake detailed environmental and social assessments and preparation of environmental and social management plans and resettlement action plans for the two projects. The work is expected to require seven months to complete, beginning in September 2011.

UK company operating on-site micro-hydro scheme

Forest Pennant, a natural stone company based in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK, recently switched on its on-site micro-hydro turbine.

Harnessing the power of the River Lyd, the 12 kW crossflow turbine from Ossberger will produce around 50 MWh of electricity per year, meeting more than a third of the company's usage.

The electricity generated by the hydro turbine is fed into the distribution network of the stoneworks, while any surplus capacity is exported onto the national transmission grid.

Nick Horton, managing director of Forest Pennant, estimates that the net contribution to the company, when the government feed-in tariff has been added, will be about £15,000 (US$24,000) per year.

Italy advances work on two hydro projects

The town of Chies d'Alpago is seeking electromechanical and hydromechanical equipment for a small plant to be built on the Funesia River in Italy. This work is valued at €623,185 (US$866,560).

And the city of Zoppe di Cadore is seeking electromechanical and hydromechanical equipment for the Rutorto project on the Rutorto River in the city. The work is valued at €341,370 (US$482,000).

Iceland seeks penstock replacement at 9 MW Laxa 2

Iceland utility Landsvirkjun is working to replace the penstock of the 9 MW Laxa 2 project on the Laxa River.

Laxa 2 is one of three projects on the Laxa totaling 27.5 MW. Others are the 5 MW Laxa 1 and 13.5 MW Laxa 3.

Landsvirkjun seeks renewal of the Laxa 2 penstock by either of two alternatives. One involves manufacturing and supervision of installation of a glass-reinforced polyester (GRP) penstock. The other involves manufacturing and supervision of installation of two GRP pipelines located side by side.

Briefly…

Construction work is nearing completion on the 20 MW Alto Tulua and Bajo Tulua projects in Colombia's Valle de Cuaca department, hydropower generator Epsa announces. Both plants are expected on line before the end of the year. … Brazilian regulator Aneel has okayed commercial operations at two units at the 3 MW Albano Machado plant, wire services report. The hydroelectric plant, in the Brazilian southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, is owned by local firm Rio do Lobo Energia.

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