U.S.-based engineering and construction company Black & Veatch announced the opening of a Hydropower Centre of Excellence in Singapore to provide hydroelectric engineering and construction services in Southeast Asia.
Black & Veatch said October 1 that Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world with gross domestic product growth rates projected to average 5.4 percent per year between 2014 and 2018. It said mini-, small and mid-scale hydropower projects have emerged as viable alternatives to oil and natural gas as energy sources in the region.
"A common misconception is that hydropower is limited to schemes that include large-scale dam development," Charles Feild, Black & Veatch Asia Pacific Hydropower director, said. "Governments and the investment community are exploring alternatives. Small and mid-scale run-of-river projects can be successfully developed with lower capital start-up costs and, by connecting remote areas to the grid, deliver additional socio-economic benefits for rural communities."
Black & Veatch has been providing services to the hydropower industry for more than 35 years. Its experience ranges from 10-kW systems to run-of-river plans of less than 1 MW to large projects of more than 1,000 MW. The new center in Singapore is to build on the strength of the company's water business in Southeast Asia.
The company said its hydropower growth projections for Southeast Asia, showing capacity doubling in the next 10 years, are based on government plans to develop hydropower facilities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines.
"The power of water remains untapped in many parts of the region," said Feild, who is based in Singapore. "Extensive efforts and plans are under way in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines to increase electric generating capacity and hydropower will make up a significant portion of the overall capacity increase in the years ahead."