The Truth About Pumped Hydro
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The Zimbabwe government is finalising the Renewable Energy Policy and Independent Power Producer (IPP) framework which is set to enhance private sector participation in the sector, Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge has said.
Speaking at the commissioning of Kupinga Hydro Power Station in Chipinge district last week, Undenge said there was need to promote renewable energy in the country.
The Kupinga hydro project, which was financed by financial services group, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, is delivering 1,6MW onto the national grid.
“We expect to see greater private sector involvement and participation at the numerous national dams which do exist in the country, as things stand, the potential is for such schemes to be developed at national 17 dams,’’ he said.
‘’Here in the Eastern Highlands, there are a number of potential sites as the Osborne Gairezi, Nyangombe, Kondo among others.’’
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was the guest of honour urged more IPPs to venture into the energy sector.
“Government undertook some reforms in the energy sector that also included liberalising the sector to allow for participation of Independent Power Producers,’’ he said.
“I am aware of the work that some of these private players have put into the projects. What we are witnessing today (Thursday) is the result of hard work that Old Mutual has put into the development of Kupinga Hydro Power Station.’’
Chinamasa said government was exploring ways of ensuring that people become productively employed wherever they happen to be living instead of flocking to the cities for jobs.
Zimbabwe has a power shortage of between 300MW and 600MW per day. The gap is being filled by imports from regional power utilities such as Eskom (South Africa) and Mozambican power utility, HCB.
The World Bank has suspended funding to help develop a $14 billion hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a stage in what could become the world’s biggest power plant, after a disagreement with the nation over implementation plans.
The announcement to halt financing the Inga 3 project followed the Congo’s decision “to take the project in a different strategic direction to that agreed between the World Bank and the government in 2014,” the Washington-based lender said in a statement on its website on Tuesday, without elaborating further.
The World Bank agreed to $73 million in technical assistance for the first phase of the $100 billion Grand Inga hydropower project which would produce 44,000 megawatts. Inga 3 alone would produce at least 4,800 megawatts, almost double Congo’s current installed capacity. China’s Three Gorges power plant, at 22,500 megawatts, is currently the world’s biggest power plant.
Only 6 percent of these funds had been disbursed before the decision to pull its support, the World Bank said. The lender would continue to work with the government to ensure the project’s execution follows proper procedures, it said.
Bruno Kapandji, who heads the Inga project for the government, didn’t answer calls and staff at his office said he was not available for comment.
The World Bank is halting its funding due to concerns that environmental and social standards would be overlooked as the Congo fast-tracks the project to honor a supply agreement with South Africa by 2021, Joshua Klemm, a policy director at lobby group International Rivers, said in an e-mailed statement.
The two ventures which are still in the running to build the project are China Three Gorges Corp. in partnership with Sinohydro Corp., and Madrid-based Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA with Spain’s Eurofinsa SA. The government has said it expects to receive final bids by the end of this month and will select a developer by September.
KARIBA Dam is now left with capacity to generate power for only 165 days, unless significant water inflows are recorded in the next few months, a Zesa Holdings official has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Speaking during a tour of Kariba Power Station last Friday, the power station’s general manager, Kenneth Maswera said water levels in the dam were now at 477,15m which is 1,65m above the minimum power generation threshold. He said these were the lowest levels recorded since the 1992 drought.
“If we are taking a cubic centimetre a day, it will take 165 days, but that is if we don’t get any water inflows,” he said.
“It looks like it has been almost constant, but the water levels are going down and it’s a fact. We have not received any significant inflows, basically the level is going to continue going down if we don’t get any water flows into the lake.”
Maswera said power generation at Kariba Hydropower Station had further declined to 285MW against a generation capacity of 750 megawatts (MW) due to
dwindling water levels in Kariba dam.
“We are 1,65m above the level to generate power and if we go below this level, we will not be able to generate. But there is enough water for fishing and other activities,” he said.
Maswera said Kariba power generation was constructed and designed to operate between 475,5m and 488,50m.
He said the expansion of Kariba South Power Station, which was expected to add 300MW into the national grid was now 40% complete.
The $533 million expansion project, which includes development costs to be met by Zimbabwe Power Company, is being undertaken by a Chinese firm, Sino Hydro and is targeted for completion by 2018.
According to reports, to date, China Exim Bank has disbursed the first tranche of about $100 million under the engineering procurement contract valued at $354 million.
Zimbabwe is generating 1 355MW, with Hwange producing 341MW, Kariba 285MW, Harare 17MW and Munyati 28MW. Imports contributed 450MW against a forecast demand of 1 375MW.
Zesa spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira said despite dwindling water levels at Kariba Dam, the power utility company was working on a number of measures to address power shortages, which include importation of 300MW of electricity from South Africa and another 40MW from Mozambique, Dema emergency diesel power plant and the solar water heating programme among many others.
Zambezi River Authority chief executive officer, Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the situation at Kariba was bad.
Kariba Dam services both Zambia and Zimbabwe and on a daily basis the power stations in the two countries consume between 900 to 1 000 cubic metres of water.
Munodawafa, however, said more rains were expected between this and next month and this will improve the water levels to sustain the two countries up to the winter period.
Small hydropower can play a pivotal role in providing energy access to remote areas in Africa.
Bids for construction of a proposed hydropower station on the Orange River on the farm Riemvasmaak north of the Augrabies Falls are due to be submitted by October this year.
HydroSA said if its bid was successful, construction would begin in August 2016 and take 36 months. The hydropower station will extract water 1.5km upstream of the Augrabies Falls, returning the water 7.5km downstream of the Falls. This will generate up to 40MW of electricity. The powerhouse and tailrace would be located on land belonging to the Riemvasmaak Community Trust in the Augrabies Park, and a 2.5m-long weir across the Orange River and 4.6km-long underground culvert would be located on South African National Parks (SANParks) land.
Environmental and tourism concerns
SANParks has expressed its concern over the R1 billion (US$79 million) Augrabies scheme’s effect on tourism caused by the visual impact of the station as well as on visitors’ experience of the 60m falls, the world’s fifth highest.
SANParks has also expressed concerns over the negative environmental effect on the Augrabies Falls, as a ‘sizeable’ portion of the river would be used. “A minimum reserve flow is required to maintain ecosystem integrity, especially as the choice of the availability of electricity to consumers is likely to supersede the volume of water flowing towards the Falls because the provision of electricity will be regarded as a priority,” said Nadia Lemmetuis, Regional Communication Manager for SANParks.
The area through which the canal is planned is a ‘highly protected zone’ and categorised as a special management area.
Enquiry from Tanzania.
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Thanx & Best regards,
Commercial & Business Development Manager
ZEK Group International Ltd.
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South Africa is partnering with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in building the Grand Inga Project which would be one of the largest hydroelectric power projects in the world, Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Tuesday.
This project is part of the regional energy collaboration and in pursuit of climate change mitigation objectives, the minister said while submitting her department’s 2015/2016 budget to parliament.
Once completed, the project will have the potential to power half the African continent, Joemat-Pettersson said.
“There are huge economic spin-offs to be harnessed from this project, including industrialization due to supplying goods and services, skills development relating to various aspects of hydropower development, and job creation.
“We are negotiating a preferential procurement status for companies domiciled within South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) so that they could take advantage of this economic opportunity,” the minister said.
South Africa and the DRC are formalizing the structure of the business model. Private sector investors will have an opportunity for collaborating with governments on this massive project.
Grand Inga Project provides a valuable opportunity for South Africa to duplicate the success factors of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), said Joemat- Pettersson.
“A number of countries on our continent will work with South Africa to explore business opportunities regarding the essential growth necessary in countries where the government and private sector players are committed to renewable energy,” she said.
Various small hydro projects have also been allocated under the independent producer program (IPP). In addition to this, the Department of Energy, in collaboration with other departments and entities, is looking into the potential to develop micro hydro projects, according to the minister.
“Hydro IPP’s from our neighboring Mozambique and other SADC countries will be encouraged,” she said.
The Grand Inga Project is a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Congo River at Inga Falls in the DRC.
Run-of-river hydropower systems
The current focus on distributed medium sized renewable energy systems has led to a closer look at small to medium sized hydropower systems as a possible component of a future energy mix. Run-of-river (ROR) systems offer a promising solution in this sector, as they can make use of existing water systems with minimal disruption and minimal environmental impact.
Run-of-river systems were arguably the first hydropower plants, which used the kinetic energy of water flowing in the rivers to generate mechanical energy. Water wheels and water mills all used the energy in the flow of river water to generate mechanical power to drive grain mills and other devices such as sawmills, etc. Both overshot and undershot, as well as vertical axis wooden water wheels were used, and in fact are still being manufactured and installed, mainly at microhydro sites which have low available heads, both for functional reasons and for decoration.
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The City of Johannesburg plans to generate electricity from its water pipe system using in-pipe turbines – here is how it will work.
City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau announced in his 2015 State of the City address that Joburg will harness energy from water flowing through its citywide pipe system using in-pipe turbines.
Electricity using water pipes made headlines earlier this year after a 200kW system installed in a water pipeline in Oregon came online.
The system in Oregon uses the LucidPipe Power System – which works by taking conventional water pipes and replacing them with Lucid Energy’s pipes. The new pipes are fitted with turbines, and as water passes through the pipes the turbines spin and generate electricity.
“As velocities increase, power production increases. Due to the lift-based design of the LucidPipe turbine, the system generates power across a very wide range of velocities,” said Lucid Power.
The company said the design of the turbine does not interrupt water flow and allows for power generation at low pressure levels.
“One mile of 42-inch diameter pipeline could produce as much as 3 megawatts or more of electricity.”
How it worksThe LucidPipe Power System uses the flow of water inside a water pipeline to spin turbines that produce electricity.
The hydrodynamic turbine is designed to maximize efficiency and power generation while limiting the onset of cavitation. As velocities increase, power production increases.
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