KOREA Western Power Co, a power generation subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Company based in Seoul, began construction of a new 600MW hydroelectric power project in Cheongsong, South Korea, in September 2000. The pumped storage project, located upstream on the Naktong river in the province of Kyongsangbukdo, approximately 314km southeast of Seoul, will help to support the economic growth of this mountainous region near Juwang National Park that is home to approximately 34,000 people.

Civil work for the US$304.8M scheme, financed by Korea Western Power, is being carried out by a consortium of Donga Construction Company and Samsung Engineering & Construction Company, both Korean companies. Hyundai Engineering is serving as project consultant. The facility is expected to begin generating electricity by the end of 2006.

In the first open, international competitive bidding for a hydro power project in South Korea, following the country’s entry into the World Trade Organisation, Korea Western Power awarded the contract for the project’s equipment supply to ge-hydro in January 2002.

Energy development

The South Korean government’s long term energy development plan calls for increasing the country’s power generation capacity from 50GW to 79GW by 2015 to meet the needs of its expanding, industrialised economy. Along with new thermal and nuclear generation, the plan includes development of a number of large, pumped storage hydroelectric plants.

Prior to 1960, hydro power was part of South Korea’s base load power supply. During the 1960s, it was midload, and since the 1970s has been used to supply peak load power. Hydro is currently supplying about 7-8% of South Korea’s total electricity demand. The Cheongsong project, along with two more pumped storage power plants planned to be built and ready for commercial operation in 2010 and 2015, respectively, will bring Korea’s total hydro power capacity to an estimated 6.9GW.

At Cheongsong, GE will supply, install and commission two 300MW reversible pump turbines, 333MVA motor/generators, governors, exciters and balance of plant equipment. Pumping operations will be performed in off-peak periods using relatively low cost power from other generation sources. The motor/generators are each rated at 333/339.8MVA at 18kV, 0.9/0.95 power factor and 300rpm. Output of the pump turbine is 306MW at a net head of 307.9m. Maximum pump output is 31MW. Each unit has specified allowable durations to change operational modes, from standstill, pump, generate, generate-condense and pump condense.

GE Energy in Norway, part of GE Hydro, will provide the project management, conceptual design and turbine runners for the project. Generators will be designed and supplied through GE Canada and other sub-suppliers, while ABB Canada will supply the control equipment, static starters and exciters. Shipping of equipment for the project will begin in April 2004.

Construction of the two power plants was 45% complete as of May 2002. This portion of the project includes building a 97m high upper dam to create a reservoir with a water elevation of 593m when full. A 1156m long, 7.5m diameter waterway tunnel will connect the upper reservoir to the power station. A 1070m discharge waterway, underground pump station and a 606m access tunnel are also being built.

The plant will be connected to the local power grid via a new, 20km, two-circuit transmission line connected to the 345kV bus of the Shinyoungil substation, which is to be built.

Unit 1 is scheduled for start-up in September 2006, followed by startup of unit 2 in December 2006. The concept and layout design of the units, following ISO 9000 design procedures and review processes, is well under way and Cheongsong remains on schedule.

To kick off the Cheongsong project, Korea Western Power representatives met with the GE team in Norway, in early May 2002. They also visited a GE reference facility, the Dinorwig pumped storage power plant, located near Llanberis, Wales.