Small hydropower, a fast and affordable solution

Building a large scale dam is a very long process and has many inconvenients:

– Choice of the location depending on various critical factors: habitation, natural impact
– Regulatory approvals and administrative process
– Funding and choice of partners
– Delay in environmental and social studies, measuring impact of such project
– Negotiation with paramount chiefs to relocate villages, habitations, etc.
– Start of works facing technical and logistical challenges such as access and infrastructures
– Running of power plant and maintenance requires skilled crew
– Cost of large distribution network
– Loss of electricity during transport
– Length of project can last more than 10 years
– Etc.

An alternative is the multiplication of “small-hydropower” plants all around the country that can be implemented in less than 2 years with lower social and environmental impact, with a faster administrative procedure and much lower CAPEX and OPEX since maintenance and distribution is a totally different scale.

AWSE highly recommends the development of small hydros where possible and prior other alternatives.

We always recommend to perform a national or regional hydro-power assessment to analyze the hydro-power potential of a country and assess strategically the best spots where hydropower plants could be built.

Hydropower, a great renewable energy solution

For ages, man has been using the energy of flowing water. Indeed, flowing water creates energy that can be used and transformed into electricity which we commonly name hydroelectric power or in short hydropower.
Since the water cycle is a constant and everlasting recharging system, hydropower is a truly renewable energy.
All hydroelectric power plants are powered by kinetic energy of water flowing downhill.

Most of the time, a dam of various sizes is built on a river to create a reservoir in order to store water. This water is conveyed through a corridor and spins a turbine that generates electricity.

AWSE delivers hydroelectric services with a fast implementation, lowing CAPEX and environmental footprint:

– National or regional hydroelectric potential assessment
– Technical and financial audit of plant projects
– Hydraulic and hydrological expertise
– Operational design and execution of works

This affordable and renewable energy doesn’t need necessarily an impressive dam as we often see all around the world. Some hydropower plants use a single channel to direct water through the turbine for small remote locations like mountain villages.

The Pumped Storage Plant alternative

An alternative solution to large hydro dams that are costly to build, having a large environmental and social impact, requiring extensive construction timelines with audits, assessments, permits, regulatory approvals, etc. is the Pumped Storage Plant that can store the “water-energy”:

The electricity is sent to another electric generator to spin the turbines backwards and pump water from the river to a reservoir. The water is then released from the reservoir through the channel and spins the turbine, activating generators to produce energy.

Run-of-river (ROR) – a proficient and reliable power plant

In a run-of-river power station, the natural decline of the water and the current are used to produce electricity. These plants produce without major fluctuations and is greenhouse-emission free.

In recent years, ROR projects have raised all around the world and are recognized as a viable and low-impact alternative to other large projects.
A small dam is created upstream called the “headpond” where water is stored to deliver a reliable and constant production of energy. The water is diverted from the water course in a pipe, the “penstock” for various kilometers till it reaches the powerhouse where the turbines spin generators. The water is then directed back to the river downstream.

AWSE will recommend the ideal type of hydro power plant depending on environmental configurations, budget and other critical factors.

Within the framework of the support to his public and private customers, AWSE has developed a state-of-the-art hydraulic expertise capacity that can be applied from hydroelectric power plants conception, works of fish ladders to all related hydraulic works (weirs, canal, dike, etc.).

CONTACT US NOW for a personalized assessment and consultancy in hydro power conception.