Ganz Engineering and Energetics Machinery (Ganz EEM), a Hungarian company, which forms part of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, and its South African partner, energy solutions provider Blue World Power Energy and Resources recently signed a contract to supply hydro-electric equipment for the installation of a small scale hydro-electric power plant at Mpompomo Falls, near Barberton in Mpumalanga.
Alexander Merten, the President of «Rusatom International Network» (RIN), which is the acting as the project integrator noted that this was the first of many envisaged mini – hydro projects in the Sub-Sharan African region.
“This is our first contract with Blue World Power and Energy Services, with a scope to install a low-yield (700kw) hydro-electric power plant in South Africa. This is just the beginning of our envisaged large-scale cooperation program in the field of small-scale hydropower engineering in Central and South African countries”, noted Merten.
Rosatom offer numerous energy solutions for African countries and one of the most promising is an innovative containerized mini-hydropower plant with a design capacity of up to 2 MW. A single facility is capable of providing electricity to between 250 and 400 houses. The installation requires no dam construction and causes no environmental harm to river and other reservoir ecology. The compact container solution makes it possible to considerably reduce the commissioning time and cuts construction costs drastically. The facility’s warranty period is 12 years, while its operational lifetime is roughly 30 years. The plant is easily controlled and monitored remotely via satellite, mobile communications network or the Internet (with a mobile option available).
The technology of mini hydro-electric power plants fits well with the existing power supply infrastructure of African countries, as it requires no additional network installation, and the estimated breakeven period for a plant with a design capacity of 1 MW and a capacity factor of 93%, is three years.
Gavin Carlson, Managing Director of Blue World Power Energy and Resources noted that the company is working on various potential projects in the African market. “These mini – hydro units have become our focus, as they are capable of bringing power quickly and efficiently to rural communities in Africa. Rosatom and ourselves have made a commitment to powering Africa through innovative technologies, such as mini-hydro,” concluded Carlson.