Small Hydro

Brazil streamlines process for small hydro projects

Brazil’s electricity regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL) is using new, simpler registration procedures for hydropower projects of 1 MW or less.

Under the new procedures, ANEEL says developers and operators of qualifying projects are required to submit only simplified technical information, along with basic data about the plant and the responsible person or corporation.

ANEEL said reduction in registration documentation applies to project developers/owners exempt from concessions, permissions, or authorizations, regardless of whether they consume the generated electricity themselves or they sell the power commercially.

Brazil’s Energisa invests in three small hydro plants

Brazil utility holding company Energisa S.A. is constructing three small hydro projects in Rio de Janeiro State.

Energisa said it would invest 200 million reais (US$92.9 million) in the simultaneous construction of the Caju, Santo Antonio, and Sao Sebastiao projects, totaling 31.2 MW. The projects are to have annual generation totaling 157.4 gigawatt-hours.

Construction is to be completed in the first half of 2010, the company said. It said major synergies would result from implementing the projects on the same river.

Banks support small hydro in Afghanistan, Colombia, Uganda

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), Inter-American Investment Corp. (IIC), and African Development Bank (AfDB) recently approved investments and loans supporting development of small hydropower projects in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Uganda.


ADB approved a US$570 million energy sector investment program for Afghanistan that includes funding for mini-hydropower projects in rural areas of Badakshan and Bamyan provinces.

The small hydro segment of the program is to provide US$12 million to the Afghanistan electricity authority, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, for the development of the hydro plants in Badakshan and Bamyan.

The project is to identify potential mini-hydropower plant sites from which a maximum of four sites would be finalized for implementation. Up to four projects would be built with an aggregate installed capacity of up to 2 MW.


IIC, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, signed loan agreements totaling US$15.5 million with developers of the 9.8-MW Guanaquitas and 9.5-MW Caruquia hydroelectric projects in Colombia’s Guadalupe River Basin.

Operating companies Guanaquitas S.A. and Caruquia S.A. will develop the projects on a build-operate basis in the municipality of Santa Rosa de Osos, Antioquia Province.

The run-of-river projects, which will have no reservoirs and minimal environmental effect, are to generate 124.1 gigawatt-hours annually.

IFC estimates the total development cost for both plants to be US$43.7 million.


The government of Uganda will draw on an AfDB loan of 6 million Units of Account (US$9.6 million) for construction of the 9-MW Buseruka hydroelectric project.

The project, to be developed by Hydromax, is to be built on the Wambabya River at the Western Rift Valley near Hoima in Uganda’s Hoima District.

The project includes a small storage reservoir, a run-of-river canal, forebay, penstock, turbine-generators, control room, tailrace, and substation. It also includes construction of a 46-kilometer, 33-kilovolt transmission line for grid connection, as well as transmission and distribution networks for the remote mountainous area, which is not currently served by the national utility.

Nepal names consultants for private sector hydro program

Nepal’s Ministry of Water Resources named consultants from France and Nepal to implement a private sector hydropower development program in Nepal.

With funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the ministry awarded a US$569,990 contract to SOFRECO of France in association with Total Management Services of Nepal. ADB had conducted a solicitation for consultants to provide the technical assistance.

SOFRECO and Total Management are to help Nepal’s Department of Electricity Development to develop and implement a competitive bidding framework to foster private sector participation in hydro.

Tanzania awards engineering, including 8-MW Malagarasi

The government of Tanzania awarded a contract to an Irish firm to provide engineering and construction supervision of transmission and distribution work and of construction of the 8-MW Malagarasi project on the Malagarasi River.

MCA-Tanzania awarded the US$19.7 million contract to ESBI Engineering and Facility Management Ltd. of Ireland.

The U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corp. awarded a US$698 million U.S. grant to Tanzania to fund improvements to roads, power, and water supply, including the Malagarasi project. Tanzania set up MCA-Tanzania as a special entity to carry out the work.

Jamaica utility launches expansion of 6-MW Maggotty

Project operator Jamaica Public Service Co. (JPSC) is proceeding with plans to expand the 6-MW Maggotty hydroelectric project by 6.3 MW.

Jamaica’s Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) approved the plans. JPSC submitted the project in response to a government request for renewable energy. OUR also approved a JPSC proposal for a 3-MW wind farm. JPSC said the two projects were expected to cost a total of US$38.7 million.

Maggotty, built in 1959 at St. Elizabeth, accounts for nearly a third of JPSC’s 21 MW of hydropower generation, supplied by a total of eight small plants.

JPSC said work on the project is part of its strategy to reduce its dependence on oil for power generation.

The government has set a goal that 15 percent of Jamaica’s energy come from renewables by 2020. Currently, 95 percent of the nation’s grid electricity is fueled by imported petroleum.

Scotland government approves applications for small hydros

The government of Scotland has approved applications by two utilities to build two small hydro projects totaling 6 MW.

The Scottish government’s Energy Consents Unit approved an application by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to build the 2.5-MW Chaorach project on the Allt Coire Chaorach River, east of Crianlarich, Scotland.

The run-of-river project is to divert water from Allt Coire Chaoroach and from Allt Coire Chlach. An underground pipeline is to carry the water to a powerhouse that will deliver electricity to the local grid by underground cable. SSE said the project only will operate when sufficient natural flows are available.

The Energy Consents Unit also approved an application by RWE npower plc to build the 3.5-MW Black Rock project on the Glass River near Evanton in Ross-shire. The run-of-river project also will use natural river flows.

Georgia restarts 800-kW Sulori project

Georgia’s 800-kW Sulori hydroelectric project, redeveloped with the assistance of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is now operating.

In 2007, USAID’s Rural Energy Program was asked to inspect the Sulori project, which operated from 1953 to 1987 and then was shut down due to an economic downturn. The project was privatized in March 2007 by Sulori HESI Ltd.

The Rural Energy Program performed an inspection of the project, in the village of Salkhino, Vani District, Imereti Region. It identified rehabilitation needs and helped the owner develop a business plan for obtaining a loan from a Georgia commercial bank.

Sulori HESI obtained a loan from Cartu Bank for nearly 40 percent of the rehabilitation cost, with the remainder coming from owner’s equity. The developer obtained mechanical and electrical equipment, built a water intake, and reconstructed a discharge channel.

Sulori is to generate 4.5 million kilowatt-hours annually for sale to Georgia’s Electricity System Commercial Operator and possibly to local direct customers.

Nicaragua names supplier for 630-kW Molejones

The government of Nicaragua named Empresa Hidro Energia S.A. to supply turbine-generators and other equipment for the 630-kW Molejones hydroelectric project in Nicaragua’s Region Autonoma Atlantico Sur.

Empresa Hidro responded to a solicitation by Nicaragua’s Ministerio de Energia y Minas (MEM), which called for bids from companies specializing in manufacture and installation of small hydropower equipment. Empresa Hidro’s winning bid totaled US$748,500.

Empresa Hidro is to supply two 315-kW cross-flow type turbines, two horizontal synchronous generators, governors, a three-phase main transformer of 800-kVa and two 15-kVa auxiliary transformers, control cabinets, batteries, water level monitoring equipment, training, installation, and start up.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the United Nations Development Program, and the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility provided funds for the project.

India awards US$3.4 million small hydro, grid contract

The hydro development agency of India’s Uttarakhand State awarded a US$3.4 million contract to SMEC International Pty Ltd. of Australia to build and equip four small hydro projects and to expand the transmission system.

With US$300 million in funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the state took bids in 2007 under the Uttarakhand Power Sector Investment Project comprising clean energy development mainly involving small hydro, plus transmission system expansion and sector capacity building.

SMEC said consultancy services will cover hydro projects ranging from 4 MW to 10 MW, 785 kilometers of 400-
kilovolt transmission lines, various 220-kV and 132-kV transmission lines, and substations.

The four two-unit hydro projects solicited by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. in 2007 are in Rudraprayag District: 9-MW Kaldigad, 4-MW Kaliganga 1, 6-MW Kaliganga 2, and 10-MW Madhyamaheshwar. Work includes design, supply, installation, testing, and commissioning.

Philippine firm named to privatize 800-kW Amlan

A newly formed Philippine company was the high bidder for privatization of the 800-kW Amlan hydroelectric project, the Philippines’ power sector privatization agency said.

The government’s Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) said ICS Renewables Inc. offered US$230,000 for the Visayas-based hydro plant. The bid exceeded the reserve price set by the PSALM board.

Amlan is located in Negros Oriental Province. The first power plant built in the province, it consists of two 400-kW horizontal turbine-generators intended to serve the town of Amlan and surrounding villages.

To access this Article, go to: