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    Two projects move forward in Pakistan

    A 15 day trial commission of the first unit of the 96 MW Jinnah project began in January 2012, Jimah Energy Ventures reports.

    The run-of-river plant, on the Indus River adjacent to Jinnah Barrage in Mianwali District, is part of the Water and Power Development Authority's plan to improve Pakistan's hydroelectric output. Overall completion of the project is expected by mid-2012. WAPDA is implementing seven new hydro projects, including 4,500 MW Diamer-Bhasha, 84 MW Kurram-Tangi, 1,410 MW Tarbela 4th Extension, 7,100 MW Bunji, 4,320 MW Dasu, and 740 MW Munda.

    Hydropower accounts for about 32% of the country's energy mix, with an average tariff of PKR1.54/kWh (US$0.017/kWh), or nearly six times less per unit than other forms electricity, according to Pakistani news sources.

    In other news, Star Hydro Power Limited has been awarded a US$60 loan by the International Finance Corporation for construction of the 147 MW Patrind plant. Other investors include the Islamic Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of Korea and Asian Development Bank.

    The $409 million run-of-river project, between the Kunhar and Jhelum rivers near Muzaffarabad, will be the largest privately financed hydroelectric facility in the country when it is completed in 2016, according to an IFC release.

    Ukraine utility awards contract for work at Kremenchuk

    Ukranian utility OJSC UkrHydroEnergo has awarded a contract to JV Sitronics IT of Ukraine and Conim Group for the supply and installation of three turbines at the 686 MW Kremenchuk facility. The 12-unit plant was commissioned in 1959.

    The 686 MW Kremenchuk hydro plant in the Ukraine is undergoing a rehabilitation that includes installing three new turbines.

    This work at the Kremenchuk (or Kremenchug) project is worth nearly US$3.6 million. The 24 month project is part of an ongoing hydro project being funded by the World Bank.

    Sinohydro awards contract for Zambia's Itezhi-Tezhi plant

    Alstom has won a contract worth US$26.25 million to provide turbines and generators for the 120 MW Itezhi-Tezhi project.

    Chinese engineering firm Sinohydro Corp. Ltd. awarded the bid for the plant, on the Kafue River in central Zambia.

    Work on the $250 million project was launched by Zambian president Rupiah Banda in September 2011 after several years of delay. Construction is expected to be complete by 2015.

    Alstom will supply two 60 MW Kaplan turbine-generator units, along with other equipment, including the main inlet valve and governing and excitation systems. Alstom is also responsible for supervising site installation and commissioning.

    The contract for the project was awarded to Sinohydro on a turnkey basis by Itezhi-Tehzi Power Corporation Ltd., a joint-venture between Indian business group Tata and the state-owned Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Ltd (Zesco).

    First of five turbines in operation at Uganda's Bujagali

    Uganda's prime minister has commissioned the first part of the 250 MW Bujagali plant, Bloomberg reports. As of February 2012, one of the facility's five 50 MW turbines was activated, according to Uganda Electricity Generation Company managing director Simon D'Ujanga.

    Construction of the project, on the Victoria Nile River, began in August 2007, although bids have been solicited as recently as January 2012. The project is sponsored by Industrial Promotion Services Limited and SG Bujagali Holdings LTD and is expected to be complete in July.

    Suppliers named for 305 MW Reventazon facility

    Costa Rica utility Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has awarded contracts to Andritz Hydro Gmbh and Sistemas de Potencia de Centroamerica for work on the 305.5 MW Reventazon project. The contracts stipulate Andritz will provide turbines, auxiliary generators, control systems and balance of plant, while Sistemas de Potencia will provide a main bridge crane.

    The project is part of Costa Rica's 2011-2014 national development plan, which says it should begin operations by 2016.

    First unit online at Chinese pumped-storage plant

    The Pushihe pumped-storage facility went online in February 2012, China's National Energy Administration announces.

    The US$712 million project, in east Liaoning Kuandian Manchu Autonomous County, includes four Alstom 300 MW turbine-generator units and is expected to produce 1,860 GWh of electricity annually. Only one generator is online, but sources say the remaining three are expected to be operational by the end of the year. Construction of the project began in 2006.

    Landsvirkjun awards four contracts for Budarhals, Laxa

    Icelandic utility Landsvirkjun has awarded four contracts for work on the 80 MW Budarhals and 9 MW Laxa 2 projects.

    Work being performed at the 9 MW Laxa 2 project on the Laxa River in Iceland involves replacing a wooden penstock that supplies water to the powerhouse.

    Three contracts were awarded for the Budarhals project. Istak will construct civil works, including two rockfill dams, a surface structure powerhouse and a headrace tunnel. The contract is worth US$80.6 million. Voith Hydro Gmbh & Co. will supply electromechanical material, as per a bid notice from May 2008. The monetary value of the award was not specified by the notice. And Montavar Metalna Nova d.o.o. will provide gates and penstocks. The notice did not include financial terms.

    At Laxa 2, APS Norway AS will replace a penstock.

    Cemig awards Brazil plant refurbishment contract

    Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig) has awarded a contract worth more than €60 million (US$79.4 million) to a consortium led by Alstom Brazil for refurbishment of the 1,710 MW Sao Simao plant.

    Sao Simao, on the Paranaiba River between Goias and Minas Gerais states, is Cemig's largest hydro facility. It began operating in 1978 with six turbine-generating units.

    The consortium, which includes electric and automation systems provider Orteng and construction company Camargo Correa, will be responsible for refurbishing the generation and transmission equipment. Alstom will refurbish the turbines, speed governors and generators; replace the excitation system; and supervise, commission and supply the transformers and instrumentation. Orteng will be in charge of engineering, integration and supply of auxiliary electrical equipment, as well as supervision and commissioning. Camargo Correa will revamp hydromechanical equipment, including erection.

    The rehab work is expected to be complete by 2018 and will extend the life of the plant by at least 30 years, Alstom says.

    Cemig owns or has stakes in 103 companies and 15 consortiums. In the electric energy sector, it services 96% of the concession area in Minas Gerais and has more than 7 million consumers in 774 municipalities. It is responsible for the operation of 65 power plants with total installed capacity of 6,925 MW.

    India's NTPC eyeing 9,750 MW hydropower project

    India's NTPC power company has submitted a pre-feasibility report for a 9,750 MW project on the Brahmaputra River in Arunachal Pradesh.

    The Siang Upper facility would be the second largest in Asia after China's Three Gorges and would increase the state-owned utility's overall production by more than a quarter.

    Sources say NTPC's filing was partially prompted by reports of Chinese plans to construct a hydro project upstream on the Brahmaputra (called Yarlung Tsangpo in China). The countries have a doctrine of prior appropriation, which says the river's rights of first appropriation belong to whoever utilizes it first.

    Work on Upper Kotmale in Sri Lanka nearing completion

    Construction of Sri Lanka's controversial Upper Kotmale plant is nearing completion, according to Sri Lankan news sources.

    The 150 MW project was first proposed in 1968 but was stymied for decades due to concerns about its environmental impact. A favorable court ruling and a US$270 million loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in 2006 allowed construction to begin.

    The project was "92% complete" in January 2012, says Sri Lankan Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. When finished, it will be Sri Lanka's largest hydro facility and should alleviate the country's energy shortfall.

    Ranawaka said he expected the first of two 75 MW generating units to be operating by the end of January, with the second coming online by April.

    Tratos wins contract for 6,800 MW Ethiopian project

    Cable manufacturer Tratos Cavi Spa has been awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to supply low- and high-voltage cable for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

    The 6,800 MW hydropower plant is on the Nile River in northwestern Ethiopia and is expected to be complete by 2017, according to a Tratos release. When complete, it will be the largest hydro project in Africa and feature two powerhouses with a combined 15 turbines.

    Tratos says it was awarded the contract by Salini Construttori Spa, which was named contractor for the US$4.76 billion project in April 2011.

    Contracts awarded for Grand Inga rehab work

    Alstom Hydro and Andritz Hydro have been awarded a joint contract worth about US$102.2 million for work at the 1,424 MW Inga 2 project.

    The companies will rehabilitate two turbine-generators at this plant as part of the Democratic Republic of Congo's initiative to develop a 40,000 MW Grand Inga facility on the Congo River. This work involves increasing capacity at both the 350 MW Inga 1 and Inga 2 projects, as well as building 4,300 MW Inga 3.

    The contract says the work is to be completed in six months.

    Supplier for Song Bung 4 project in Vietnam

    Alstom and its consortium partner, Hydrochina Huadong Engineering Corporation, have been awarded a contract worth about US$23.6 million by Electricity of Vietnam to provide electromechanical equipment and technical services for the 156 MW Song Bung 4 plant in Vietnam.

    Alstom says it will produce two 78 MW Francis turbine- generators and related equipment for the project and be responsible for the equipment's design, engineering, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and testing.

    The units will be manufactured at Alstom's plant in Tianjin, China, and are expected to be placed into operation in 2014.

    Activity at RusHydro facilities

    The continued investigation of events leading to the deaths of 75 people at Russia's 6,400 MW Sayano-Shushenskaya plant led to a new round of charges for seven defendants in February 2012, sources report.

    An explosion at this plant in early August 2009 killed 75 people and destroyed three of the station's 10 turbine-generator units, according to plant owner RusHydro.

    A report released in October 2009 assigned blame for the failure to several people. An investigation into the accident ordered by then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was completed in March 2011 and resulted in charges against seven people for safety breaches.

    The seven chief executives and officials were charged with violation of labor safety rules (Article 143, Pt. 2 of Russia's Criminal Code) in 2010, but those cases were only valid for two years given the country's statute of limitations and included a maximum four-year prison sentence. The new charges could carry up to seven years.

    "The defendants will face a new charge under Article 216 for violation of safety rules in mining, construction and other types of operations that entailed the death of two and more people through negligence," says investigation committee spokesman Vladimir Markin.

    Meanwhile, restoration work on the plant continues. RusHydro launched the facility's fifth hydropower unit in December 2011. This is the first unit to be put on line that is not restored but instead entirely new. RusHydro says it plans to launch three new units annually (including replacements for the four refurbished units) until 2014, at which point the facility's capacity will have increased from 2,600 MW to 6,400 MW.

    Also in December, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to provide a long-term loan of RUB8 billion (US$256 million) to fund balance sheet optimization of RusHydro's subsidiary in Russia's Far East region.

    RusHydro is the world's second-largest hydropower generator and has signed memorandums of understanding with several developers to expand that capacity even further.

    The loan was agreed upon after maturities on local capital markets shrank dramatically due to financial turbulence, according to an EBRD release. The funding will enable RusHydro to go ahead with a planned restructuring of recently-acquired subsidiary OJSC Energy Systems of the Far East, the release said.

    Mexico revises law to include large hydro plants

    A modification to Mexico's renewable energy law will broaden the country's definition of "renewable" to include some of its larger hydroelectric facilities, sources report.

    The revised law has been signed by Mexican president Felipe Calderon and amends portions of Mexico's 2008 energy reform law (LAERFTE). Under the original law, hydropower projects with capacities greater than 30 MW were set apart from other renewables given their larger environmental footprint.

    The changed definition means facilities greater than 30 MW will be considered renewable if they have reservoirs with less than 50,000 m3 of water or that occupy less than 1 hectare of surface area.

    According to state utility Comision Federal de Electricidad, hydroelectric power accounts for 12.8% of Mexico's total production, including 41 plants of 30 MW or less for a combined capacity of about 300 MW.

    Haiti's Peligre plant receives IDB grant

    Alstom-Comelex has signed a three-year, US$48.4 million contract with the government of Haiti to restore the 54 MW Peligre plant, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

    Peligre's operator, Electricite d'Haiti, received a $20 million grant from IDB for the project in December 2011.

    IDB says the facility operates at a fraction of its potential, forcing Haiti to rely on thermal generators and imported fossil fuels. Restoration of Peligre to its full 54 MW of capacity includes overhauling three turbines and modernizing electromechanical equipment and control systems.

    EDH will also upgrade power transmission lines between Peligre and Port-au-Prince using $32 million in IDB grants.

    PLN report shows hydro growth potential in Indonesia

    State-owned utility PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara has identified 96 potential hydroelectric sites in Indonesia, sources report.

    Of those locations, about 60% would be developed by PLN, with the rest offered to independent power producers.

    According to the Jakarta Post, the sites have a potential total capacity of 12,800 MW, although data provided by the country's Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry says Indonesia has an overall hydro capacity of 75,670 MW. Currently, hydropower accounts for 5,705 MW.

    The PLN report reflects Indonesia's recent emphasis on hydroelectric power. In 2011, the country moved forward on projects that include 1,030 MW Upper Cisokan, an 88 MW project in Aceh province, 187 MW Jatluhur and 90 MW Karebbe.

    Odebrecht to host HydroVision Brasil planning meeting

    The HydroVision Brasil event, scheduled for Sept. 25-27, 2012, at the Riocentro Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro, confirmed Odebrecht's support as host of this year's conference planning meeting.

    HydroVision Brasil 2012 will feature more than 60 presentations in multiple tracks of sessions that cover a number of topics related to the hydroelectric industry. Last year's event attracted 650 attendees from 34 countries and more than 20 companies from an international field.

    This year's HydroVision Brasil will be co-located with DistribuTECH Brasil, the South American version of North America's No. 1 electricity transmission and distribution show, DistribuTECH. HydroVision Brasil, now in its second year, is expanding on its success in providing a conference and international exhibition focused on developing the region's hydroelectric power sector.

    Odebrecht, a Brazil-based global diversified business that includes energy infrastructure development and construction, sponsored both events' conference planning meetings in Rio de Janeiro on March 13. Electric energy experts in generation, transmission and distribution attended the meeting and planned the events' conference sessions.

    Odebrecht Energia, a subsidiary of Odebrecht, is helping construct 70 hydroelectric plants that together provide a capacity of 52,757 MW; 17 thermoelectric power plants with a capacity of 3,500 MW; and two nuclear plants with a capacity of 1,938 MW. In addition, Odebrecht Energia has installed 6,297 km of transmission lines.

    PennWell also recently announced that LIGHT, the utility that serves Rio de Janeiro, confirmed its support as a host utility of the events.

    Alstom announces personnel changes

    Jacques Hardelay joined Alstom Renewable Power as Alstom Hydro Europe President effective February 20. Hardelay will report to Alstom's renewable power president and executive vice president, Jerome Pecresse.

    Hardelay joined Alstom Transport in 2002 as a La Rochelle plant manager. He later became chief executive officer of the company's manufacturing sites in Italy, then joined the Alstom Marine shipyards in 2005 as director of operations.

    After the sale of Alstom Marine to the Aker Yards Group in 2006, he was appointed CEO of Aker Yards SA and, after a takeover by Korea-based STX in 2008, was named CEO of the newly-created STX France.

    In addition, Philippe Joubert, deputy CEO and president of Alstom's power businesses, resigned in February.

    Joubert was awarded the deputy CEO title in June 2011 after Alstom CEO Patrick Kron called for a "major change" in the company's organization. Joubert had previously been responsible for recovery and development in Alstom's power sector.

    A successor has not yet been named.

    GeoConsult wins contract for Centroamerica project

    Honduras-based GeoConsult SA de C.V. has won a bid to supervise construction of a bypass at 50 MW Centroamerica.

    The US$426,830 contract, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, is part of Nicaragua's $381 million National Sustainable Electrification and Renewable Energy program.

    The country's state-owned power generator, Empresa Nicaraguense de Electricidad, says the project should extend the plant's useful life by 25 years.

    Voith Hydro sees growth over past fiscal year

    Voith Hydro has expanded its sales by 6% during fiscal year 2011, the international energy conglomerate announces. Voith Hydro, a joint effort between the Voith Group and Siemens, supplies hydroelectric equipment, technology and services.

    According to a release, the company's core markets of South America, NAFTA and China registered an 81% increase in orders to US$2.34 billion, while total orders-in-hand amounted to nearly $4.3 billion.

    Overall, the company saw an order intake of 20% to $8.35 billion, exceeding Voith Hydro's previous best year in 2007-08. Sales also increased by 8% to $7.3 billion, netting the group more than $261 million in post-tax revenue.

    Amaila Falls project in Guyana getting back on track

    Construction of Guyana's 165 MW Amaila Falls plant could begin soon, state news agency Gina reported in January.

    The project, on the Kuribrong River in west central Guyana, has been hampered by delays in the construction of an 85 km-long access road by contractor Synergy Holdings.

    Guyana President Donald Ramotar and Sithe Global Chief Executive Officer Bruce Wrobel recently cancelled their US$15.4 million contract with Synergy, sources say.

    Sithe Global is the lead sponsor of the development program and entered into an agreement with Guyana in July 2010 alongside Guyana Power and Light, China Development Bank and China Railway First Group. Sithe solicited EPC bids for the project in October 2008.

    Sithe-led Amaila Falls Hydro will operate both the plant and a 270 km, 230 kV transmission line under a 20-year build-own-operate-transfer contract once it is complete.

    Yactreta expansion slowed by transmission dispute

    A proposed addition to Paraguay's 3,200 MW Yacyreta hydropower complex could be jeopardized should Argentina not consent to power sales by Paraguay to Uruguay via Argentine power lines.

    Yacryeta is a bi-national facility on the border between Paraguay and Argentina. The expansion, proposed by Argentina, calls for the construction of a new 270 MW plant on the Ana Cua branch of the Parana River.

    Mercedes Canese, Paraguay's deputy minister of mines and energy, said she expects Argentina to agree soon.

    Sweco wins contract to rehabilitate Stejaru-Bicaz plant

    Swedish-based engineering firm Sweco has been awarded a contract to help modernize one of Romania's largest hydroelectric plants.

    The US$3.9 million contract stipulates that the company assist with rehabilitation of the 210 MW Stejaru-Bicaz hydroelectric facility. Work includes the replacement of electromechanical equipment for six turbine-generators and related systems and replacement of hydromechanical equipment and penstocks. Electrical equipment, instrumentation, controls, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems will also be upgraded.

    Funding for the project comes in part from a $149.8 million loan awarded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in May 2011.

    Turlough Hill refurbishments nearing completion

    Refurbishment of the 292 MW Turlough Hill pumped-storage plant is nearly complete, sources report.

    Voith Hydro Kraftwertkstechnik GmbH of Germany was selected in May 2009 to provide full overhauls of the facility's No. 1 and No. 3 units. The company also supplied replacement governors for the hydro plant, at Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland in 2007.

    The 292 MW Turlough Hill pumped-storage project is undergoing rehabilitation work that is nearly complete. Two units have undergone full overhauls, and governors have been replaced.

    "Turlough Hill has been in operation for 40 years and this is the first major upgrade," said Andrew Doyle, a Fine Gael member of the lower house of the Irish Parliament for Wicklow and East Carlow. "It will secure the continuation of this operation for the next 40 years."

    The plant, owned by the Electricity Supply Board, was commissioned in 1974 after crews spent six years excavating the holding reservoir at the top of the hill. "The site is a fascinating feat of engineering in a beautiful setting," Doyle said. "It is remarkable that its operation is as relevant today as it was in 1968."

    Voith Hydro previously refurbished a generator at the Turlough Hill plant in 2007.

    IDB approves $30 million loan for Latin America

    A $30 million loan to the Emerging Energy Latin America Fund II from the Inter-American Development Bank will help boost clean technologies and renewable energies, IDB says.

    The eventual size of the fund is targeted at $150 million and will be used to invest in renewable energy projects and the utility companies that use them. It is a successor to a previous $25.2 million CleanTech Fund, which had a similar focus and was supported by the IDB Multilateral Investment Fund.

    The fund will be managed by Connecticut, USA-based Emerging Energy and Environment LLC, which specializes in clean energy investments and consulting.

    Argentina names contractors for diversion dam, canal projects

    Argentina's government awarded contracts for rehabilitation work on the Los Molinos diversion dam and Rio Grande Canal in January.

    Bids for the project, in San Salvador de Jujuy in the Jujuy Province, were originally a package, but then split before being issued as separate tenders in August 2011.

    A contract worth $121.6 million that was awarded to Benito Roggio e Hijos S.A. - Jose Cortellone Construcciones Civiles Inc. calls for work on Los Molinos. The company will rehabilitate "civil, electrical and hydromechanical works to restore the operating capacity and ensure adequate conditions of stability," according to the award notice. Deadline for completion of the project is 24 months.

    The Rio Grande Canal contract, awarded to Green S.A. - Casella S.A., is worth $91.7 million and envisages an 11 km concrete-lined canal with a capacity of 10 m3 per second. The rehabilitation work also includes the addition of a reinforced concrete side of gabions. Deadline for its completion is 14 months.

    The original solicitation was valued at US$76.2 million for work on both the dam and canal. The latest issuance divides the dam, valued at $105.79 million, from the canal, valued at $80.3 million, an increase totaling nearly $110 million.

    EDF awards contract for 546 MW La Bathie

    Campenon Bernard Regions has been awarded a contract by Electricite de France for civil engineering earthwork at France's 546 MW La Bathie project.

    The work calls for excavation, use of pumps to lower the water table, and reinforcing concrete construction at the 50 year-old La Bathie site.

    Financial details were not specified in the award notice. Work is expected to take 18 months.

    Estonia names company for fish flow evaluation at 82 dams

    Consulting firm Eesti Veeprojekt has been awarded a contract worth €498,538 (US$634,943) to inventory fish flows at 82 dams in Estonia.

    The tender, issued in September 2011 by Estonia's environmental information center, Keskkonnateabe Keskus, sought technical evaluation of 11 dams on rivers where salmon are present and 71 dams on rivers where salmon are not present. The goal is to control the flow of water to improve fish migration, according to the contract.

    Work performed at these dams will include feasibility studies and environmental assessments, preparation of tender documents, and supervision of construction contracts to improve fish migration in accordance with requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive.

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