Tech Notes

Bank studies designing hydro to anticipate climate change

The World Bank is hiring a consultant to evaluate the integration of climate change considerations into the design of hydroelectric projects.

Because climate change is expected to affect the hydrological cycle, it could affect water resources and hydropower generation, the bank believes.

With funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the World Bank plans to hire a consultant to review best practices for developing hydropower facilities under uncertainty about current and future climate, focusing on capacity determination and safety issues.

The consultant hired also will also model the effect of hydrological data quality and the impacts of anticipated future climate change on hydropower plant design and economics.

In addition, work will include an evaluation of the adequacy with which owners of recent World Bank-supported hydropower projects have already incorporated climate change considerations into current facility designs.

ICOLD Forum: Bulletin on cost savings in dams

The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) offers Bulletin 144, Cost Savings in Dams.

This technical bulletin covers identifying and mitigating existing non-technical factors detrimental to cost savings and technical opportunities for innovation and cost savings in the design of high and low dams. The bulletin was prepared by the ICOLD Committee on Cost Savings in Dams, which consists of 12 members from 11 countries.

The 196-page bulletin covers:

— Non-technical factors, including identification of need, approvals and permitting, design, tendering and contract arrangements, and construction; and

— Technical opportunities for cost savings, covering high dams, low dams, spillways, and the impact of sedimentation.

The bulletin updates Bulletin 73 (Savings on Dam Construction) and Bulletin 83 (Cost Impact on Future Dam Designs) and also takes into account six other specific ICOLD bulletins on cost savings. In addition, it incorporates lessons from a question at the 2006 ICOLD Congress on technical solutions to reduce time and cost in dam design and construction.

To order this bulletin for €60 (US$87), visit and click on Publications, then Bulletins.

— ICOLD is a nongovernmental organization providing a forum for knowledge exchange in dam engineering. To learn more about ICOLD, contact Michel De Vivo, Secretary-General, ICOLD, 61 avenue Kleber, Paris 75116 France; (33) 1-47041780; E-mail:

Hydrogenie superconducting generator undergoes testing

Converteam announces it has completed static testing of essential elements of its Hydrogenie generator.

Hydrogenie, thought to be the world's first high-temperature superconducting hydro generator for a commercial installation, is being manufactured by Converteam as part of a project funded in part by the EU. This generator will be installed at the 3.75 MW Hirschaid hydroelectric plant on the Regnitz River in Bavaria, Germany, which is owned and operated by E.ON Wasserkraft GmbH.

This new generator makes use of high-temperature superconducting materials instead of traditional materials such as copper.

According to Converteam, Hydrogenie promises a step change in generator efficiency, together with size and weight reductions of up to 70% when compared to a conventional solution.

In superconducting materials, electrical resistance drops to zero when the conductor is cooled to, or below, a critical temperature. Conventional materials always retain some resistive qualities.

Converteam's partners in the project include E.ON Wasserkraft; Zenergy Power GmbH, which manufactured the high-temperature superconducting coils; and Stirling Cryogenics BV, which supply the coolers and rotating interface. Vector Fields, Cobham Technical Services, KEMA and the Silesian University of Technology have provided analysis tools and testing support.

Final commissioning of this 1.7 MW Hydrogenie generator is scheduled for summer 2011.

Database offers information on hydro in EU-27 states

The online HYDI (Hydro Data Initiative) database is now available to provide data on energy, markets, and policy related to the hydroelectric industry.

The database was developed by the European Small Hydro Association (ESHA) to cover the hydro sector in EU-27 member states.

The HYDI database contains data in three areas:

— Energy, including current data by country, year (2007-2009), and variables (number of plants, installed gross capacity, gross electricity generation, and more); forecasts by country, plant size and type (run of river, storage, or pumped storage), year (2010-2011), and variables (number of plants, installed capacity, and gross electricity generation); and hydropower potential by country, plant size, and variables (production and capacity);

— Market, including industrial data by country, year (2009), and variables (number of companies, employment sector, and civil works), and economics by country and variables (average investment cost, lifetime of mechanical equipment, civil works cost, and more); and

— Policy, including support by country, year (2007-2009), and capacity; concessions by country, year (2007-2009), and variables (capacity, new permit, or relicensing); and legislation by type (energy, environmental, other), country, and year (2007-2009).

Data can be extracted into Xcel format. The baseline year for data is 2007. ESHA says yearly updates will be made.

HYDI is part of ESHA's Stream Map initiative, which was developed to define a clear and consistent roadmap for the small hydro sector in Europe. Stream Map groups the needs, barriers, and challenges of the sector in a common, centralized database. The final Stream Map will be ready in 2012.

The database is available at:

Alstom delivers electronic ring gate system to Ahai project

China-based Tianjin Alstom Hydro Co. Ltd. has delivered the world's first self-closing electronic ring gate control system to the 2,000 MW Ahai station in China, Alstom reports.

The system boasts a electronic ring gate control system with hydraulic synchronization — meaning that in an emergency the system can close by itself, cutting the flow of water to stop the turbine rotating, the company states.

The Ahai project, which is owned by the Yunnan Jinsha River Hydropower Co. Ltd, is currently under construction and comprises five 400 MW units, for which the turbines are also being supplied by Alstom. The first unit is scheduled to be commissioned and operational in the spring of 2012.

With a diameter of some 10 meters, a height of 2.6 meters and weighing 110 tons, the Ahai ring gate is currently the biggest such system in the world, Alstom says in a statement.

Indian province to establish two hydro engineering colleges

The government of Himachal Pradesh province in India plans to establish two hydropower engineering colleges.

The two colleges, to be located in Simla and Bilaspur districts, are being set up with the help of power companies NHPC Limited, SJVN Limited, and NTPC. NHPC is engaged in construction of 10 hydro projects with total isntalled capacity of 4,502 MW. SJVN is building four projects in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. And NTPC owns and operates the 1,070 MW Nam Theun 2 project.

These two colleges are intended to meet the requirements of engineers involved with hydropower projects in the country. Hydro capacity in the country is set to double by 2017, mainly due to start up of new projects, according to the "Indian Power Sector Analysis" research report, released in September 2010.

Flow Science opens office in Tokyo, Japan

USA-based Flow Science Inc. has opened an office in Tokyo, Japan, for sales and support of its FLOW-3D computational fluid dynamics software. The office will be called Flow Science Japan.

Flow Science specializes in transient, free-surface CFD modeling software for industrial and scientific applications. The company has distributors in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

RusHydro, Alstom to build hydropower equipment plant

RusHydro and France's Alstom have signed a deal to build a €500 million (US$677 million) hydro turbine plant in the republic of Bashkortostan.

Construction of the plant was scheduled to begin in May, with commercial launch planned for 2013.

Under the first stage, a plant to produce turbines up to 25 MW in capacity will be launched. At the second stage, the companies plan to start producing turbines with a capacity up to 60 MW. The production of automatic process control systems will be launched by late 2011.

In future, the plant will also produce turbines with a capacity up to 100 MW and pumped-storage units of up to 150 MW, wire services report.

UK office focuses on renewable energy deployment

A group called the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED) has the responsibility of ensuring that the UK government meets its ambitious targets for renewable energy.

This office, which was formed by the government in mid-2009, works with delivery partners and stakeholders to help accelerate deployment of renewable energy. Formation of this office coincides with the UK's requirement to increase renewable energy by ten-fold by 2020, a objective which was first announced back in 2009.

The two key focus areas of ORED are:

— Financial support for renewables. The main financial incentives in the UK are the renewables obligation (RO), feed-in tariffs (FiT), and the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO). In addition, ORED has consulted on the forthcoming introduction of the renewable heat incentive. Also, the government is looking into the possibility of a Green Investment Bank to help fund the introduction of renewable energy.

— Unlocking barriers to delivery. ORED is working to identify and address those issues that affect the timely deployment of established renewable technologies, which include the planning system, supply chains, and connection to the transmission grid.

In addition, ORED works to bring forward technologies that are at relatively early stages of development and demonstration but are expected to be important contributors for the pathway to 2050, such as ocean/tidal/stream technologies.

Part of the UK's Department of Energy & Climate Change, ORED is considering how creating a network of marine energy parks can move the sector forward.

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