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ICOLD president says environmental responsibility is top priority

Months into a three-year term as president of the International Commission on Large Dams, Jia Jinsheng told Hydro Review Worldwide that the evolving field of dam engineering must place environmental issues at the top of its priorities.

ICOLD, founded in 1928, is a non-governmental organization that provides a forum for the exchange of information and expertise pertaining to dam engineering and related topics. Some of the organization's goals are to ensure that dams are built safely and in an environmentally-friendly manner. The commission includes national committees from more than 80 countries.

"Looking to the future, we will have to be much more sensitive to environmental issues in order to be socially acceptable and environmentally friendly," Jinsheng said in a recent interview. He noted that new ideas and practices regarding environmental issues are emerging in many aspects of the field.

Throughout the history of ICOLD, the organization's aim has shifted to include emerging areas of concern such as planning, construction, operations and design.

Jinsheng emphasized that ICOLD was set up with one of life's necessities, water, at the forefront. With that in mind, the organization strives for safety and for dams that are built and operated in environmentally-safe ways, he said.

National emergency plan prepared for Akosombo and Kpong dams

The Volta River Authority is preparing an Emergency Preparedness Plan to identify, prevent, and limit the effects of potential dam failures at Akosombo and Kpong.

The plan is expected to form part of the broader Environmental Management Plan for the Akosombo and Kpong dams as required by the Environmental Protection Law in the country and international standard of operations, news reports from the region indicate.

Authority leaders said preparation of such a plan did not indicate that the country's two main dams were in any danger of failure but that the plan was required in accordance with best practices in the dam industry and the environmental protection laws as well.

Hydropower '10 brings industry together in Norway

Hydropower '10, the 6th International Conference on Hydropower, brought industry leaders from around the world to Norway to examine issues ranging from hydropower's potential in the renewable energy mix to the many challenges and opportunities the future holds for the industry.

Hydropower '10, entitled "Hydropower Supporting Other Renewables," featured a variety of workshops, speakers, sessions and other activities related to the evolving hydropower industry.

The three three-day international conference, held Feb.1-3, covered issues that ranged from challenges and opportunities involved in merging hydroelectric power with other renewable energy sources to how climate change could affect different aspects of the hydropower industry.

Session topics covered value-added maintenance of hydropower projects, climate change issues, upgrading and refurbishment, financial issues, and other areas affecting hydropower.

China Valves agrees to purchase valve manufacturer

China Valves Technology Inc., a leading metal valve manufacturer with operations in China, has signed a letter of intent to acquire Able Delight Valve Co., Ltd., a valve manufacturer that specializes in hydropower and other water and energy-related fields.

Consideration for the acquisition is approximately US$15 million. The company expects to complete the acquisition during the first quarter of 2010. Able Delight, in Changsha, Hunan Province, is a leading producer of butterfly valves, check valves and ball valves for hydropower plants and other industrial applications.

Able Delight has the capability to produce the largest butterfly valves in China, with a maximum diameter of 5.5 meters.

Psalm names high bidders for hydropower capacity

Strategic Power Development Corp. submitted the high bid of US$450 million for the capacity of the 345-MW San Roque multipurpose hydroelectric plant in the Philippines.

Trans-Asia offered US$424 million and Pacifica Inc. bid US$286 million, said Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm).

In addition to seeking bids for San Roque's capacity, Psalm sought bids for the capacities of the 70-MW Bakun hydro plant and the 30-MW Benguet hydro plant. Amlan Power Holdings Corp. was the highest bidder for the capacities of both plants, offering US$145.5 million.

All three plants are in Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines.

Luzon Hydro Corp. operates the Bakun plant. Hydro Electric Development Corp. and the Northern Mini-Hydro Corp. operate the Benguet plant.

CONTRACT AWARD


DSD Noell to design, install penstocks for Swiss project

DSD Noell GmbH of Germany received a contract from Kraftwerke Linth – Limmern AG to design, supply and install two penstocks for the pumped-storage plant Linthal 2015 in Switzerland, DSD Noell said.

Linthal 2015 is in Swiss canton Glarus. The plant is currently the largest hydropower and infrastructure project in the Swiss energy industry. Four turbine-generator-sets with a capacity of 250 MW each will be installed in the powerhouse. 

Poyry wins contract for hydroelectric projects in Turkey

Poyry, a global consulting and engineering firm, said it signed a contract for the development of four hydropower projects on the Murat River in Turkey.

The project consists of four dams and four hydroelectric plants. The total installed capacity is planned to be 1,100 MW, with an annual energy generation of 4,000 gigawatt-hours. The value of Poyry's assignment is 2.5 million euros (US$3.6 million).

The company's assignment includes the preparation of feasibility studies, including energy market reports, power supply and sales concepts, and final design and preparation of technical specifications.

The assignment will be implemented in cooperation with Poyry's Turkish partner Temelsu. The project is scheduled for completion in 2012, Poyry said.

The project is one of the first large hydropower projects in Turkey developed by private investors. It will be carried out by SPC Kalehan Enerji Uretim A.S.

FINANCE


Zambia's Itezhi-Tezhi hydro project wins US$50 million loan

The Zambian government and the Export and Import Bank of India signed a US$50 million loan to help develop the Itezhi-Tezhi hydroelectric project in Zambia.

The 120-MW project is being developed as a joint venture of Zambian utility Zesco Limited and Tata Africa Holdings, according to press reports from the region. The project has a total estimated cost of US$240 million.

IDB loan approved for 80-MW project in Bolivia

Bolivia will receive US$106 million in loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to finance the construction of the 80-MW Misicuni hydroelectric project.

Construction of the dam on Bolivia's Misicuni River began in June 2009.

In addition to generating electricity for Bolivia's national grid, the project is expected to boost water supplies for domestic use and irrigation activities in the Cochabamba Valley.

"Through this project, Bolivia is showing that when water is sustainably managed, it can become a strategic resource that generates improved human health, increased food production, and greater access to clean, renewable energy," said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.

The IDB loan will be used to build the hydroelectric component of the project, including transmission lines. The project is being financed by the government of Italy, the Prefecture of Cochabamba, Bolivia's National Treasury, and the Andean Development Corp.

An additional US$5 million in IDB financing will be used to reduce erosion, enhance water management, and protect priority habitats in the areas of the watershed most exposed to such risks.

World Bank approves loan for Ukraine rehab project

The World Bank approved a US$60 million loan for the rehabilitation of three hydroelectric plants in Ukraine.

The loan will be used to finance improvements to several units at the Kremenchuk hydro plant and two Dniprovska hydro plants, the World Bank said.

The original loan of US$106 million was approved June 21, 2005, and became effective Feb. 3, 2006.

The additional financing is expected to improve the reliability, efficiency, and safety of hydraulic structures and equipment, thereby increasing environmental performance. The upgrades also will boost the capacity of the Dnipro Hydropower Cascade by about 400 MW and increase production by about 500 gigawatt-hours a year, the World Bank said.

"The reform and modernization of the energy sector is a key pillar of Ukraine's sustainable economic development," said Martin Raiser, World Bank director for Ukraine. "We are very pleased to be able to continue to support UkrHydroEnergo in its efforts to increase the efficiency of the unique Dnipro cascade and thereby ensure Ukraine has access to cheap, reliable, and clean power."

Colombian Isagen gets US$140 million loan for new hydro project

The Andean Development Corporation approved a US$140 million loan to assist with development of state-run Isagen's Sogamoso hydroelectric project in eastern Colombia, Business News Americas reported.

The project's total cost is estimated at US$1.74 billion, and bond money will finance the first phase of construction. The loan will help finance the second phase.

The Sogamoso project on the Sogamoso River will feature a 190-meter-high concrete face dam and will have a generating capacity of 820 MW.

Project completion is scheduled for 2014.

ONLINE REPORT


Brazil project begins power production

Brazil's Baguari hydroelectric project, a 140-MW plant on the Doce River in the state of Minas Gerais, began commercial production in January 2010.

The US$300 million project is being developed by the UHE Baguari Consortium, which is composed of Neoenergia, Cemig Generation and Transmission and Furnas. The project, which began construction in 2007, includes four generators and is capable of supplying power to 450,000 people.

The Baguari plant is the first project under the national Program for the Acceleration of Growth. The program is aimed at boosting GDP. About 70 percent of funding for the project will be financed by Brazil's National Bank of Economic and Social Development.

POLICY


British Hydropower Association offers mixed reaction to new tariffs

While the British Hydropower Association said it welcomes the Department of Energy and Climate Change's final version of the Feed-in Tariff scheme for renewable power, it says some issues must be addressed.

The new plan shows stronger tariffs for hydro that are in line with extensive work carried out by the hydropower association for the consultation process.

"This helps to reassure those who finance new hydro projects, thus encouraging realization of hydro's vast potential in the United Kingdom," said David Williams, the association's chief executive officer.

However, there are certain issues within the detail of the structure that will effect the fulfilment of the total potential development, the association said.

These are mainly related to schemes that have pre-registered for the old system within the Renewables Obligation. If this was done before April 2008, scheme owners can no longer apply for feed-in tariffs and cannot afford to complete the scheme under the Renewables Obligation.

"This effectively quarantines a number of projects trapped in this time limitation," Williams said. "We must fight to get the structure modified."

Another area of contention is the inability to use refurbished equipment for the feed-in tariff regime. One of the big advantages of hydropower is that, with refurbishment, hydro plants can last easily for 100 years. Under the Renwables Obligation, refurbishment was allowed. Now it is not, again limiting the most reliable source of renewable electricity generation, the association said.

World Bank: Africa needs more hydropower

A recent study from World Bank shows that almost half of the $93 billion needed to improve Africa's infrastructure must be spent on the construction of new power supplies.

The study, Africa's Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation, assessed the infrastructure in 24 countries across the continent and found that Africa's largest infrastructure needs are in the power sector and that the development of new hydropower may be the best way to increase the continent's capacity.

"The most cost-effective way to expand Africa's power generation is through regional trade," the study found. "Mobilizing the benefits of regional trade depends on developing major untapped hydropower projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Guinea."

Such a plan would require 22,000 MW of interconnectors to deliver power freely from country to country, the study states. The ability to trade power supplies "would increase hydropower's share of the continent's generation portfolio from 36 percent to 48 percent," the study found.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT


Preliminary license issued for Belo Monte project

Brazil's environmental authority, Ibama, issued a preliminary license for the 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydro project in the Amazon region, subject to a number of conditions covering environmental concerns and other issues.

The preliminary license allows the auction for construction of the project to proceed. Belo Monte will cost at least 16 billion reais (US$9.3 billion), according to the Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Basic Industries.

The project, on the Xingu River in the state of Para, is Brazil's second-largest hydro project after the 14,000-MW Itaipu complex in southern Brazil. The auction for Brazil's Belo Monte hydro plant is scheduled for April 2010, a spokesperson for Brazil's mines and energy ministry told Business News Americas.According to Ibama, Belo Monte constructors will have to pledge 1.5 billion reais (US$793 million) for preservation works to compensate for the environmental impacts of the project.

French utility again seeks suppliers of 50 hydro turbine-generators

Electricite de France (EDF) renewed its qualification system for companies to supply about 50 turbine-generators and other equipment over five years to hydro projects in the EDF system.

EDF said it intends to install hydro generating units of 100 kW to 12 MW over five years and seeks to qualify a panel of equipment suppliers for the period in which it would issue invitations to tender. The utility said the qualification notice is a renewal of a similar notice in 2008.

In a separate solicitation, the French utility invited hydro equipment suppliers in February 2009 to qualify to provide turbines to projects in the utility's hydroelectric system.

In the current solicitation, companies would be required to supply and commission turbine-generator sets of less than 12 MW, possibly including civil engineering, valves, pressure pipe, and electrical and control equipment.

European countries plan grid to link hydro, other renewables

Nine European countries are backing a plan to develop a US$43 billion North Sea renewable energy transmission network that would link tidal power projects, offshore wind farms, hydroelectric plants and other renewable energy sources.

Germany's minister for economy and technology said the project linking the countries to renewable energy was "crucial" to Europe's energy goals.

Rainer Bruderle, Germany's minister for economy and technology, said the offshore energy park that would link tidal power with wind and hydroelectric plants "focuses on network connections and integration, which is crucial for wind energy to reach consumers and to make offshore energy generation a success."

The plan calls for new cables that could handle the fluctuations inherent in renewable energy sources.

They would connect offshore windmills controlled by Germany and Britain with hydroelectric sources in Norway and tidal power stations controlled by Belgium and the Netherlands.

Zambia plans construction of 600-MW Kafue Gorge project

Zambia plans to begin construction of a $1.5 billion hydro project in 2011, with the project's completion planned for 2017.

Officials say the government will engage the private sector to help build the 600-MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydroelectric project in a two-stage tender process. The Zambian Government will put up $250 million, with a comparable sum coming from private equity.

The project could meet as much as a quarter of the country's electricity needs.

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