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Russian energy company Rosatom, which is best known locally for its nuclear capabilities and potential ties to the new nuclear build, will install a small hydroelectric plant near Mpompomo Falls. Rosatom company Ganz Engineering and Energetics Machinery (Ganz EEM) and its South African partner, Blue World Power Energy and Resources, will be responsible for the project.

Based in Hungary, Ganz manufactures self-contained hydropower plants designed to fit entirely into a standard shipping container. The units are made to be deployed easily and rapidly, with controls and monitoring available via satellite, internet or mobile network.

Mini hydropower plant on the cards for Wild Coast“These mini-hydro units have become our focus as they are capable of bringing power quickly and efficiently to rural communities in Africa,” Blue World Managing Director Gavin Carlson said in a statement, adding that the company hopes the relative ease of their installation will make them attractive to other developers on the continent. “Rosatom and ourselves have made a commitment to powering Africa through innovative technologies, such as mini-hydro.”

The project is set to provide 1MW of electricity, but the containerised mini-hydropower design can carry up to 2MW. According to Ganz, a single facility is capable of providing electricity to between 250 and 400 houses.

The installation of these units 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 cut construction costs, and has a warranty period of 12 years. A standard operational lifetime is roughly 30 years, according to Ganz.

The plant can be controlled and monitored remotely via satellite, mobile communications network or the Internet, and there is also a mobile control option available.

“This is our first contract with Blue World Power and Energy Services, with a scope to install a low-yield (under 1 Mw) hydro-electric power plant in South Africa,” says Alexander Merten, President of Rusatom International Network (RIN), which is acting as the project integrator. “This is just the beginning of our envisaged large-scale co-operation program in the field of small-scale hydropower engineering in Central and South African countries.”

Image credit and more information: http://blueworldpower.com/ganz-minihydro.pdf

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