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Small Hydro

Two projects commissioned in Azerbaijan

A pair of small hydropower projects have been commissioned within the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Called Arpachay 1 and 2, the hydroelectric plants have output capacities of 20.5 MW and 1.4 MW, respectively.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, who approved financing for the projects earlier this year, put the plants into service during a ceremony earlier this week.

In March, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was working to create a sustainable energy program for the region that includes Azerbaijan.

EBRD said at that time that it was scaling up its energy efficiency and renewable energy financing in Azerbaijan by establishing a new Caucasus Sustainable Energy Financing Facility called CEEP II.

UK's National Trust turns on small hydro plant

A hydroelectric plant at the National Trust's Hafod y Llan farm in Snowdonia began operating in April.

The hydro project is expected to generate 1,900 MWh per year. This is enough electricity for about 445 homes, and the electricity produced will be sold to customers of renewable power supplier Good Energy.

Development of the project was challenging but rewarding. "The end result? We've got a hidden hydro capturing half a tonne of water per second and generating a couple of million kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year - I'm quietly pleased!" says Keith Jones, the trust's environmental advisor for Wales.

The National Trust has established a £35 million program to build solar, wind, biomass and hydro generators across its grounds by 2020. The goal is to cut its energy use by a fifth, halve its fossil fuel consumption and generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This hydro plant is the first of 44 planned power plants. The trust will use some of the energy it generates and sell the remainder to the grid. It anticipates reducing its power bill by about £4 million a year, and it can invest that money in the charity's conservation work.

The overall building program is contingent on five pilot energy projects hitting their targets. Its other pilot projects include two additional hydro projects, one at Sticklebarn pub near Ambleside in the Lake District, a marine source heat pump and biomass boilers.

The National Trust is a charity that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces. It opens 300 historic houses and properties to the visiting public, operates 360 holiday cottages and cares for thousands of tenanted buildings. The trust spends almost £6 million (US$9.86 million) a year on electricity, oil and gas.

Financiers agree to small hydropower investment strategy

Financial groups Mandiri Investment Management and Armstrong Asset Management have entered into a co-investment strategy that will emphasize small hydroelectric power development in Indonesia.

The companies said Indonesia has a "clear need" for more environmentally-friendly power production, so while the deal will help finance other forms of renewable energy, it will focus on hydropower.

Mandiri Investment Management - a subsidiary of Indonesia's Mandiri Inestasi - manages about US$2 billion in various mutual funds and is part of the country's largest banking group, Bank Mandiri.

Meanwhile, Armstrong, a Singapore-based private equity fund that invests in small-scale renewable projects in southeastern Asia, closed a clean energy fund dedicated to emerging markets in November 2013. The fund has $164 million in total commitments.

Construction of 1-MW Allt Gharagain small hydro begins

Scottish energy developer Green Highland Renewables has begun construction of a 1 MW small hydroelectric project near Anchansheen.

The US$5.8 million Allt Gharagain plant will be a high-head, run-of-river complex connected to the grid in December.

Allt Gharagain is a joint venture with capital trust manager Albion Ventures and marks the company's fourth venture in Scotland's Wester Ross region.

The company says it has been busy in recent years, with 37 projects receiving consent since 2010 - seven of which have been built and eight that are under construction.

French utility awards contracts for small project construction

French utility Synergie Maurienne has awarded three contracts for the construction of the 3.2 MW Encombres a Saint la Porte plant in the Savoy region.

Contracts awarded include:

- Lot 1, upstream structures and penstock to be built over nine months, to Groupement Truchet/Rampa, US$891,335;

- Lot 2, construction of powerhouse to be built over 12 months, to Truchet Batiment Locabat, $1 million; and

- Lot 3, electromechanical equipment (including Pelton turbine-generator and transformer station) to be built over 14 months, to Groupement Andritz Hydro/Dynelec, $1.3 million.

Briefly...

The Inter-American Development Bank approved a $20 million loan to Panama that could include hydroelectric power as part of an effort to electrify rural parts of the country. The program will offer incentives for grid-extension and off-grid systems.

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