The International Hydropower Association’s ongoing work with its partners to improve knowledge and inform decision makers on the greenhouse gas (GHG) status of freshwater reservoirs is moving into a new phase.
A revised screening tool is being developed to estimate the impact of a reservoir on the GHG exchanges that occur in a river basin. The GHG Reservoir Screening Tool will allocate any GHG impact to the services provided by the reservoir. We expect that a prototype of the revised tool will be launched at the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, 19–21 May 2015.
The development of the tool has been divided into four modules – pre-impoundment, post-impoundment, unrelated anthropogenic sources, and allocation to reservoir services. We have issued a request for proposals, which invites research teams to assist in the development of the first three of these modules.
The tool is intended to inform decision makers if there is likely to be any significant GHG footprint associated with the purposes for which the reservoir is being developed. The tool will be applicable for both existing and planned reservoirs. If the tool identifies a reservoir that is likely to cause a significant impact, the recommended action will include the possibility of detailed modelling.
Our work is aligned with that of the International Energy Agency’s Hydropower Agreement (IEA-Hydro), which is currently working on the development of modelling guidelines. These guidelines will relate to the detailed study of the GHG status of reservoirs shown to be vulnerable by the GHG Reservoir Screening Tool.
Back-to-back expert workshops to address both the development of the GHG Reservoir Screening Tool (convened by IHA) and modelling guidelines (convened by IEA-Hydro), will take place in London, 1–5 December 2014.
Please note that the deadline for proposals has now closed. For more details about the ongoing project, please contact the IHA Central Office.
Hydropower developer NuPlanet has begun construction of the 4.5 MW Stortemelk station near Clarence in the Free State Province, South Africa, after agreeing financing on the project.
Construction of the project is expected to take around two years, with commissioning schedule for mid-2016. It was awarded preferred bidder status under the South African Government’s Independent Power Producer (REIPP) programme.
NuPlanet has implemented a number of innovative measures in designing the project to address environmental considerations, ensure maximum availability and optimise maintenance. This includes a vertical CAT turbine directly coupled to an air/water-cooled generator, eliminating the forced ventilation and reducing the number of failure mechanisms.
Anton-Louis Olivier, managing director of NuPlanet, said: “We’re building the power plant in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. The brief to the architects was to design a powerhouse top-structure that minimise visual impact and blended the power station to the surrounding environment.”
Mr Olivier explained how the project’s unique ownership structure will ensure that project benefits reach the people most in need. “Not only is Stortemelk is one of the few REIPP projects that is wholly South African owned, but our partners, the Mertech Group, is one of the largest philanthropic investors in South Africa.
“Combining that with broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) ownership and an additional shareholding by a local Clarens-based charity results in a business which is ploughing back the majority of its returns to poor communities across South Africa.”
The project, situated on the Ash River, will be constructed using a ‘split contract’ structure with an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) arrangement rather than the EPC structure that is more commonly used in the REIPP programme.
Mr Olivier said: “Based on our past experience, we realised that small hydro does not lend itself as easily to the EPC contract structure as do solar PV or wind projects. Fortunately our partners and lender agreed with this approach.”
You can find out more about NuPlanet here: www.nuplanet.co.za