Small Plants with Broad Prospects
A contract has been signed to deliver a mini plant to Georgia. A pilot project is being developed to supply green energy to the mountain valley near Almaty (Kazakhstan) where the world-famous Medeu skating rink is located. The relevant agreement has already been signed, with engineering solutions now under development. Armenia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Latin America and African countries have expressed interest to Rosatom’s new product.
Mini hydro power plants (mini-HPPs) have been developed by Ganz EEM, a Hungary-based subsidiary of AtomEnergoMash (Rosatom’s engineering division). The Hungarian government invested €580,000 into the €2.32m research and development program of the company. The pilot plant passed all the tests at the company’s premises in Hungary.
Each HPP consists of a turbine and a set of auxiliary equipment mounted inside a container. The containerized design drastically reduces lead-in times and costs of construction. They can serve either as independent power sources or an alternative to cost-inefficient and non-eco-friendly generators since they need no dam construction and have no impact on the environment of rivers and other water bodies. Thanks to their design, mini-HPPs by Ganz can be installed even at discharge channels of water treatment facilities. They boast low generation costs, a short time of delivery, fast and easy installation.
After the container is delivered to the site and water is channeled onto the turbine, power generation can start within a month. Although compact, hydro power plants have all the monitoring and control devices for their proper operation. Another advantage is that containerized HPPs can be controlled remotely via (mobile) phone or Internet. Therefore, the owner can monitor and control the plant with a PC, tablet or cellphone, and receive information about the power output.
According to AtomEnergoMash estimates, power generated by the mini-HPP costs only $0.06 per kWh on the service life (30 years) average. The price of power is much higher in many African countries (for example, up to $3 per kWh in Congo). The payback period of a mini-HPP was estimated by AEM to be three years provided that the capacity utilization rate is about 93%. AEM expects that serial production will bring the price of mini-HPPs “to below €1,000 per kilowatt-hour.”
Andrei Nikipelov, CEO, AtomEnergoMash:
“Along with the development of wind generation, this innovative product is Rosatom’s another step on the way towards global leadership in non-carbon energy and green power technologies that prevent environmental impact.”
Georgia is the first customer
The first buyer of a mini hydro power plant is Georgia’s International Energy Co., Ltd. Rosatom’s nuclear engineering division AtomEnergoMash is to supply Georgia with containerized small hydro power plant. According to the contract, Georgia's International Energy Co., Ltd. will purchase a pilot plant to be shipped later this year, followed by more plants varying in capacity from 0.6 MW to 2 MW.
Interest is growing
At present, Rusatom International Network is negotiating shipments of Ganz EEM’s containerized hydro plants to Armenia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, as well as Latin American, African and other countries. Dmitri Baranov, a senior expert of Finam Management, says, “It is crystal clear that the market for mini-HPPs is very promising. First, they can be installed where it is impossible or unfeasible to build conventional hydro power stations. Second, they are preferred to other sources of power for they have little impact on the environment. Third, they can serve as a reliable source of power for remote settlements in hard-to-access territories. We may expect that the number of mini-HPPs will grow both domestically and internationally. Rosatom will have a chance to become a leading player on this market.”