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Small Hydro

Significant small hydro activity in Uganda

In Uganda, one small hydro project has begun operating and two are on the verge of being developed.

The 6.5 MW Ishasha plant began operating in November 2011 in the Kigezi Sub-Region. Operation of this US$15 million facility should help reduce the country's power outages, government officials say.

The facility, on the Ishasha River in Kyeijura Kanyantorogo Sub-county, will not only provide power to the Kanungu district, but also nearby Rukungiri, Ntungamo, Kabale and Kisoro districts.

Ishasha was built by ECO Power IT under a memorandum of understanding that says the Sri Lanka-based company will operate the station and sell its power to the government for 30 years.

The project was funded by three Sri Lankan financial institutions — the National Development Bank of Sri Lanka, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka.

In development news, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) has arranged a US$24 million senior loan for financing of the 14 MW Kilembe run-of-river plant in Uganda.

Of the $24 million, FMO will provide $12 million, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund will provide $6 million, DEG $4 million and Finnfund $2 million. DEG is the investment arm of Germany's government, and Finnfund is a development finance company that provides long-term risk capital for projects in developing countries.

The 6.5 MW Ishasha powerhouse on the Ishasha River in Uganda began operating in November 2011, providing expected annual power generation of 28 GWh.

The project is being developed by South Asia Energy Management Systems LLC (SAEMS) and will be located in the village of Kilembe, in the Kasese district of Uganda.

The Kilembe project — along with SAEMS' earlier 19 MW Mpanga project — are part of an overall plan to develop 13 small hydro projects in Uganda.

And international consulting firm Royal Haskoning will soon begin work on a project that will provide electricity to 350,000 people in Uganda's rural western region.

A press release says Royal Haskoning has already arranged a public-private partnership that includes a US$15.5 million Dutch ORIO subsidy, $16.8 million from the Uganda Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and $9 million from private investors in a plan being called the "Western Uganda Mini-Hydropower & Rural Electrification Project".

Under the plan, a cluster of 10 small hydropower units with capacities of 7 to 10 MW will be installed alongside a transmission and distribution system. Royal Haskoning says this will increase the percentage of Uganda's rural population connected to the grid from less than 6% to 7.5%.

Vallibel Power begins project operations in Sri Lanka

Vallibel Power Erathna, a Sri Lankan firm, began commercial operations at the 4.65 MW Kiriwaneliya project in December 2011.

The project, which uses the potential of the Maskeli Oya and the flow of several other feeder streams, is in the Ginigathhena Divisional Secretariat Division of the Nuwaraeliya District. The powerhouse is expected to generate about 16 GWh annually, which will be fed to the national grid.

Swiss utility BKW acquires Italian hydro facilities

BKW FMB Energy Ltd. is acquiring five run-of-river hydropower plants from Italian energy utility Sorgenia.

Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

The five facilities have a collective installed capacity of nearly 8 MW and are in the Aosta Valley in northern Italy. Annual production from these five plants is about 30 GWh

Switzerland-based BKW already owns and operates eight hydropower plants in Italy in the Lago di Iseo region with a total capacity of 42 MW. The company acquired these plants in 2006.

Developer wins loans to build 8.6 MW San Lorenzo in Panama

A unit of Spanish developer Grupo Cuerva Espana has received US$21 million in loans to construct the 8.6 MW San Lorenzo project on Panama's Fonseca River.

Cuerva subsidiary Hidroelectrica San Lorenzo S.A. signed a loan agreement in December 2011 for the financing, of which US$10.5 million is coming from the Inter-American Investment Corp., a unit of the Inter-American Development Bank. Cuerva Chairman Ignacio Cuerva Valdivia says other financing is coming from Banco Internacional de Costa Rica S.A. and Compania Espanola de Financiacion del Desarrollo.

San Lorenzo is a run-of-river project in Chiriqui Province that includes a concrete dike with five gates located along the Fonseca, a short canal from the river, and a powerhouse containing two 4.35 MW Kaplan turbine-generators. It is expected to produce 40 GWh annually, delivered to Panama's grid by a 12 km-long transmission line.

Spanish firm Balino S.A. de Espana is to supply and install equipment, while Saret de Costa Rica is handling construction of the project.

New bill could increase small hydropower in Poland

Poland is looking to increase the share of renewable electricity within its energy mix from 10% to 15.5% over the next decade, and this would include investment in small hydro plants.

A new draft bill would help Poland, which generates more than 90% of its electricity with coal, meet the EU's renewable production standards by 2020. A 2010 EU directive says members will reach a 20% share of energy from renewable soruces by the end of the decade.

"Our goal is to simplify, optimize and improve the support mechanism for renewables," says Deputy Economic Minister Mievczslaw Kasprzak. According to Kasprzak, the country's annual spending on renewables could increase from less than US$1 billion in 2012 to $2.46 billion in 2020.

Poland's hydroelectric output accounts for less than 2% of the country's overall output, according to a study performed by Coalition Clean Baltic. CCB's report also says almost 90% of Poland's hydro potential remains untapped, meaning there is significant room for growth.

The proposed bill would divert investment to solar, biogas, offshore wind and small hydro. It would cut support for biomass, old hydro facilities and on-shore wind farms.

European bank funds 5.1 MW Cerruje 1, 2 in Albania

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a €3 million (US$3.9 million) loan to finance construction of the 5.1 MW Cerruje 1 and 2 projects on Albania's Benji River.

EBRD made the loan in December 2011 to an Albanian private developer, Energy Partners, under the bank's Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Direct Financing Facility.

Energy Partners is to build the two hydro plants 140 km northeast of Tirana. They are to generate up to 14.7 GWh annually, helping to offset production of 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide by other power plants.

Energy Partners plans to develop a total of five hydro plants on the Benji, for which the company received a 35-year concession.

Guyana, EU teaming up for Chiung River Falls project

The European Union (EU) will provide funding for a new 330 kW hydroelectric plant along Guyana's Chiung River, with the stipulation that the country construct a new secondary school first.

The anticipated cost of the new Kato facility is US$3.11 million. Of that, the EU has said it will contribute about $2.39 million under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), while the Guyana government will contribute the remainder.

The EU says construction of the school is essential before finalizing its investment because the school is anticipated to be the new plant's primary beneficiary. "The secondary school is foreseen to be the main electricity consumer, and therefore as such forms the basis for feasibility of the investment," an EU release says.

Officials hope that construction on the Kato plant can begin by February 2013, with completion scheduled for February 2015.

Ecuadorian utility names supplier for small hydro project

Ecuadorian utility Empresa Electrica Quito (EEQ) has awarded a US$6.53 million contract to Ensilectric to manufacture and install electromechanical equipment for the 10 MW Victoria hydro plant in Napo Province.

EEQ issued the tender in November 2011, which calls for the supply of two 5.1 MW Pelton turbines, two 5,900-kVA generators, governors, ball-type valves, bypass systems, a bridge crane, transformer, controls and protection, and hydromechanical equipment.

Ensilectric will have 21 months to install the equipment for the Victoria hydro facility.

Scottish utility exploring benefits of small hydro network

Scottish Water has revealed that they will soon embark on a US$31 million plan that will see the utility's existing water treatment plants partially converted to produce hydroelectric power.

According to a company release, Scottish Water will use the flow in its large water supply pipes to generate power for its treatment plants, resulting in a treatment cost reduction of 10%.

The conversion plan is made possible by legislation introduced in 2010 by First Minister and Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond.

More than 30 potential sites have been identified in areas including Lanarkshire, the Borders, Stirlingshire, Angus and Fife. Many of the proposed schemes make use of Scottish Water's existing buildings, although the company might need to construct additional buildings and electrical infrastructure in some areas, the release says.

In addition to this project, Scottish Water's commercial arm, Scottish Water Horizons, has recently installed a microturbine at the Touch water treatment works in Stirling.

Two contracts awarded for Czech Libechov project

Developer Mercator Energy a.s. has awarded two contracts for development of the 4.59 MW Libechov project on the Elbe River in Czech Republic.

Metrostav a.s. received a contract worth CZK179.8 million (US$9.1 million) for construction of the project.

And, Mavel has been awarded a US$6.98 million contract to equip Libechov. The contract stipulates that Mavel will manufacture, supply and install one Kaplan turbine-generator with a diameter of 4.8 meters and an average power generation of 12 MWh.

Libechov is a small town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic located about 36 km north of Prague. Work on the project is expected to be complete by May 2013.

In other news, Stojirny Brno a.s. has won a contract to reconstruct a turbine at the 1.12 MW Tri Chaloupky project on the Elbe River. Tri Chaloupky was built in 1948 and features a single vertical Kaplan turbine.

As per the US$1.98 million contract, Stojirny Brno will dismantle the turbine and manufacture a new impeller and guide vanes. A new generator is to be supplied under a separate contract.

Jamaican utility announces developer for new facility

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has announced plans to develop a new small hydroelectric plant in Maggotty, Jamaica.

The new 6.3 MW facility, in the country's St. Elizabeth parish, will be designed and constructed by England-based Kier Construction Limited. Kier signed a contract with JPS on in December 2011 that is worth more than $26 million.

Plans for the new plant were first released in March 2009. The project is estimated to nearly double the generating capacity of the facility JPS already has in Maggotty.

The new plant will increase JPS' hydroelectric stations to nine and represents the largest hydro project undertaken in Jamaica since the country attained independence in 1962.

The plant is expected to be commissioned by November 2013.

Serbian utility gets $59 million loan for small hydro projects

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved a €45 million (US$59 million) loan to Serbia's state-owned utility for renovating and building small hydropower plants.

According to an EBRD release, the loan will allow Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) to refurbish 15 small hydroelectric facilities and construct seven new ones at existing dams. The refurbished facilities will have a combined capacity of 18 MW, while the new ones will provide 13 MW total.

EPS has also created a subsidiary, called EPS Renewables, that will manage and operate its investments in green energy. In 2011, ERPS announced that it is working with Germany-based RWE Innogy to develop five run-of-river small hydro plants on the Morava River.

China city names four groups to build 11 projects

Yichang's small hydropower agency has awarded contracts worth US$52.8 million to four Chinese groups to build 11 small hydroelectric projects in China's Hubei Province.

On behalf of Yichang City Project Management Office for Small Hydropower Projects, China International Tendering Co. solicited companies in May 2011 for the Wufeng and Changyang plants. Between three and four bids were received for each contract.

Contracts, winning firms, and award amounts include:

— Contract No. WJH&CN-Civil-1: Wufeng County, civil works of Chinan, Wangjiahe 1, Wangjiahe 2, and Wangjiahe 3 projects; Hubei Rui Tian International Trading Co. Ltd. with joint venture of Wuhan Hao Kun Construction Engineering Co. Ltd.; RMB62.7 million (US$9.8 million);

— Contract No. TJH-Civil-1: Wufeng County, civil works of Tangjiahe 1 and Tangjiahe 2 projects; Hubei Machinery & Equipment Import & Export Co. Ltd. with joint venture of Hubei Chu Sunlight Water Conservancy and Hydropower Co. Ltd.; RMB56.9 million ($8.9 million);

— Contract No. QLG-Civil-1: Wufeng County, civil works of Qilinguan 1 and Qilinguan 2 projects; Hubei Xinbaofeng International Trade Co. Ltd. with joint venture of China Foreign Northwest Construction Engineering Group Co. Ltd.; RMB95.4 million ($14.9 million).

— Contract No. ECK&XJP&CF-Civil-1: Changyang County, civil works of Erchakou, Xujiaping, and Changfeng projects; Hubei Provincial Minmetals International Trading Corp. Ltd. with joint venture of Hubei Chu Sunlight Water Conservancy and Hydropower Co. Ltd.; RMB122 million ($19.2 million).

Under the European Investment Bank's China Climate Change Framework Loan, Yichang City applied for €44 million ($63.8 million) from China's Finance Ministry to build the Hubei Province Yichang City Small Hydropower Development Project.

HMV Ingenieros expanding small hydro capacity in Colombia

Colombian power and engineering company HMV Ingenieros will add up to 200 MW in small hydroelectric capacity in the coming years, news sources report.

HMV has already developed the 9.8 MW Guanaquitas and 9.5 MW Caruquia projects in the country's Guadalupe River Basin, and the company is currently working on two more. They are run-of-river projects that have no reservoirs and consequently minimal environmental effects.

Barroso and El Popal — each with a capacity of 20.4 MW and located in Antioquia department — are expected to come online in 2012.

HMV was also awarded a temporary concession by Peru's energy and mines ministry in 2010, giving the company 24 months to conduct feasibility studies for another 20 MW facility in the Aracucho region.

Berthol wins contract to redevelop Rivaz in Switzerland

Swiss contractor Berthol has been awarded a contract to supply equipment for redevelopment of the 725 kW Rivaz 2 plant on Forestay Creek.

Utility Romande Energie says it plans to spend US$5.6 million redeveloping Rivaz, in Switzerland's Lavaux District, to utilitize the full 183 m of Forestay Falls, compared with 63 m used currently.

As per the contract, Berthol is expected to design, fabricate, assemble, test and commission the hydromechanical and electromechanical equipment, as well as train operating personnel.

The contract does not stipulate a completion date.

Romande Energie serves 280,000 electricity customers in 318 municipalities. It commissioned work on its 14.4 MW Farettes project in 2011.

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