Small Hydro

European bank funds nineBulgarian small hydros

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending 54 million euros (US$80 million) to construct nine small hydroelectric plants totaling 25.7 mw on Bulgaria’s Iskar River.

The run-of-river Vez Svoghe Mini-Hydro project is planned for a 33-kilometer stretch of the Iskar by Vez Svoghe Ltd. Petrolvilla Bulgaria, a subsidiary of Italian energy developer Petrolvilla & Bortolotti S.p.A., owns 90 percent of Vez Svoghe Ltd. The municipality of Svoghe owns the remaining 10 percent.

EBRD is providing the funding in one of several renewable energy initiatives for Bulgaria. The funding consists of an “A” loan of up to 34 million euros (US$50.4 million) by the EBRD and a “B” loan of up to 20 million euros (US$29.6 million) syndicated to an international bank. The total project cost is 81 million euros (US$120 million).

Two projects, Lakatnik and Svrazhen, are under construction with partial funding from the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Credit Line. EBRD said those two plants were included in its funding for refinancing. Scheduled for completion in 2008, the plants are to be evaluated for a year for environmental mitigation that could be implemented at subsequent plants.

Lakatnik and Svrazhen are part of a cascade that includes the Opeltnya, Levishte, and Gabrovnitsa plants. Another cascade is to include Bov South and Bov North. The other two individual plants in the project are Prokopanik and Tserovo.

The plants’ total annual generation of 137.2 million kilowatt-hours will be delivered to Bulgaria’s national grid.

Asian bank awards loan for Pakistan small hydro

A US$510 million renewable energy loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) initially will benefit a series of small hydropower project “clusters” to be built in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province and Punjab Province.

The multi-tranche loan program is the first of its kind in Pakistan and one of the first to be developed under ADB’s clean energy and efficiency initiative. The program is to develop indigenous, non-polluting, renewable sources of energy to help meet Pakistan’s power shortage and to diversify power sources.

The government of Pakistan has been recruiting consultants, contractors, and equipment suppliers for the hydro project clusters since 2006. The two province governments are expected to borrow up to US$180 million and US$150 million respectively to fund their projects.

Other provinces can request funding for renewable energy projects totaling US$170 million. The loan will have a life of ten years to 2017, ADB said.

Panama names consultants to electrify rural areas

Panama’s Office of Rural Electrification (ORE) named consultants to evaluate rural electrification projects, which could include small hydro, and to provide financial advice.

The government received a US$30 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to finance the program. It is to promote public and private investment to serve 30,000 rural households, increasing rural electricity coverage by 10 percent.

ORE awarded a US$484,000 contract to Applus Norcontrol S.L.U., which was selected from four bidders to evaluate rural electrification projects.

The consultant is to build a database of investment costs for rural electrification work and to calculate and negotiate subsidies for projects. Additionally, the consultant is to identify individual eligible projects and help develop contracts between project operators and electricity distributors.

ORE also awarded a US$199,000 contract to Otscorp S.A. to consult on financial administration of the rural electrification program.

The program is to include a system of subsidies for new investments that are to motivate private enterprises to invest in rural electrification, either through grid extension or renewable energy projects in isolated areas.

Peru fund backs first of five small hydro projects

Peruvian investment fund Fondo Trasandino Peru (FTP) approved investment of US$2.25 million in the 5.9-mw Santa Cruz 1 hydroelectric project, the first of five small plants to be developed in Ancash Department of Peru’s Huaylas Province.

FTP, Peru’s first private capital fund for institutional investors, is providing the investment to developer Hidroelectrica Santa Cruz for the total US$6.5 million project, state news agency Andina said. Construction company GCZ Ingenieros, a co-investor, is to build the plant.

Santa Cruz 1 is the first of five hydro plants totaling 40 mw that are to be built in sequence for a total of US$39 million. Construction is to begin in early 2008, with completion in 18 months. All five are to be completed by 2013.

In addition to generating low-cost electricity, the project is expected to generate carbon emission reduction credits for sale under the Kyoto Protocol to stem climate change.

Zimbabwe policy encouragesmini-hydro at new dam sites

Zimbabwe has initiated a national policy that all new dams be designed in a way that allows mini-hydropower generation to be developed at the sites, an official says.

Energy and Power Development Minister Mike Nyambuya told a pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo the policy is to improve local electricity generation, Zimbabwe’s Herald reported. He said the move would complement generation from big power plants and would help save foreign currency.

Nyambuya said seven mini-hydro projects have been built in the Eastern Highlands with capacities ranging from 8 kw to 700 kw. He said another 1.4-mw project is being built at Manyuchi Dam in Mwenezi District of Masvingo.

Three small Peru plantswin carbon credit approval

The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) agency approved sale of carbon emissions reduction credits from a cascade of three small hydroelectric plants on the Santa Rosa irrigation system on Peru’s Huara River.

The Executive Board of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change issued a registration for the Santa Rosa project, including 1.1-mw Santa Rosa 1, 1.5-mw Santa Rosa 2, and 1.5-mw Santa Rosa 3, on the existing irrigation system in Lima Department.

The plants are expected to displace 96,999 tons of carbon dioxide in the first seven-year crediting period. The CDM agency certified 10,420 in carbon emission reductions (CER) by the project.

Project sponsors include Electrica Santa Rosa SAC of Peru and the Community Development Carbon Fund, which is managed by the World Bank.

In addition to generating 30.1 gigawatt-hours of reliable power annually and offsetting carbon emissions, the project contributes to sustainable development by employing local labor, cleaning water for irrigation, sharing CER revenue with the town of La Merced, and providing free electricity to an orphanage.

Atel buys four small hydrosfrom Ziegler Papier

Swiss small hydro developer Atel Ecopower AB purchased four small hydro projects on the Birs River from Ziegler Papier AG of Grellingen.

Atel Ecopower, a unit of utility Aare-Tessin AG fur Elektrizitat (Atel), said Nenzlingen, Moos, Buttenen 1, and Buttenen 2 total 2.2 mw and are in Basel-Land Canton.

The plants, which were built in the 1940s and renovated in the 1990s, generate 12 million kilowatt-hours annually. They have licenses from Basel-Land that are valid until 2077.

Atel said Ziegler is selling the plants as part of a move to concentrate on its core business. Atel Ecopower is intensifying its commitment to small hydropower.

In July 2007, Atel said it plans to invest 200 million francs (US$164.7 million) in small hydro development in Norway over seven years.

Atel founded Atel Ecopower AG in Switzerland in 2006 with an initial injection of 50 million francs (US$41.4 million) to develop small hydro plants at several dozen locations.

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