Hungarian-Russian joint venture company Ganz Engineering and Energetics Machinery, which forms part of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, recently signed a contract with South African partner Blue World Power Energy and Resources to supply hydro-electric equipment for the installation of a small-scale hydro-electric power plant at Mpompomo Falls, near Barberton in Mpumalanga.
Acting project integrator Rusatom International Network (RIN) president Alexander Merten notes that this was the first of many envisaged mini-hydro projects in the sub-Saharan African region.
“This is our first contract with Blue World Power and Energy Services, with a scope to install a low-yield hydro-electric power plant in South Africa,” he said in a statement.
Rosatom offers numerous energy solutions for African countries, one of the most promising being an innovative containerised mini-hydropower plant with a design capacity of up to 2 MW.
The installation requires no dam construction and causes no environmental harm to rivers and other reservoir ecology.
“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,” stated Blue World Power Energy and Resources MD Gavin Carlsson.
The compact container solution makes it possible to considerably reduce the commissioning time and cuts construction costs. 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, a mobile communications network or the Internet, with a mobile option available.
The technology of mini hydro-electric power plants integrates 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.