Spotlight on Asia

10 May 2010

Vietnam plays host to the dam community this year. Ahead of ICOLD’s Annual Meeting, IWP&DC gives an insight into dam and hydro power development across Asia.

Asia is the venue for the 78th Annual Meeting of icold, which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 23-26 May 2010.

According to former ICOLD president Luis Berga, although the Vietnam National Committee on Large Dams (VNCOLD) is a fairly young member of the international-commission-on-large-dams, it has enthusiasm and a working capacity that will ensure the success of the 2010 meeting. VNCOLD was established in 2004 and became a member of ICOLD the following year.

As Berga states, Vietnam is undergoing great socio-economic development and requires the construction of hydraulic infrastructure for hydro power production, regulation of irrigation water and flood control.

“It would be of great interest for dam experts to see the Vietnamese experiences in planning, constructing and operating large dams in harmony with the environment,” he said. “Vietnam has a huge hydro power potential, and therefore has the potential for developing this type of clean and renewable energy.”

In Hanoi, an international symposium entitled Dams and Sustainable Water Resources Development will be held. The main topics of this will include:

• Innovation in dam construction.

• Dam safety, maintenance and rehabilitation.

• Hydrology, sustainable water resources planning and river basin management.

• Financial aspects and cost reduction in dam investment.

• Computational modelling of dams and structures.

• Education tools and the promotion of hydro engineers.

In addition ICOLD’s technical committees, which comprise more than 500 worldwide experts, will also be convening during the annual meeting. Their findings will be published in future ICOLD Bulletins. Furthermore, dams which delegates can visit on technical tours include Son La, Cua-Dat, Dinh-Binh, Tri-An, Ham-Thuan and the Bai-Thuang weir.

To give readers an insight into dams and hydro power development across the Asian continent IWP&DC highlights various projects below, many of which are due for completion over the next few years.

Bakun dam, Malaysia

Bakun hydroelectric dam is located on the Baliu river in Sarawak, Malaysia. Originally proposed in the 1960s, the project was delayed several times, most notably by the Asian economic crisis in 1997. However, in 2002 the project was awarded to the Malaysia-China Hydro Joint Venture and the 2400MW scheme is scheduled for completion in 2011.

Standing at 207m high with a crest length of 748m, the dam has a fill volume of 117Mm3 and is currently the second highest CFRD in the world. Upon completion the dam will reach its full height of 230m.

The spillway has four radial gates, 15m wide by 20m high, each with a 50m wide concrete chute, 680m in length that ends in a flip bucket.

The eight power tunnels are concrete or steel lined with an intake diameter of 8.5m, a descending diameter of 7m and a varying length of 670-760m. The powerhouse is located at the base of the dam and houses 8x300MW turbines.

At the peak of construction over 4000 workers were employed on the site. The total cost for construction of the dam is estimated at RM5.8B (US$1.8B).

Ban Ve, Vietnam

The 320MW Ban Ve hydro power plant in Vietnam is scheduled to start generating electricity in May 2010. The second of two 160MW turbine groups was installed at the project in February. The plant was set to run a trial operation in March and officially begins generating power from the first turbine group on 19 May.

Construction at the project on the Ca River in Nghe An’s Tuong Duong District began in September 2004. Upon completion the plant will produce more than 1.76BkWh/yr. Electricity will be linked to the national grid across a 200km transmission line that will run to a transformer station in Vinh City. The power plant will also be linked to Nam Mo hydro plant in neighbouring Laos across a 110kV transmission line, which forms part of a scheme to connect regional power grids.

The 135m high dam will be the highest in Vietnam and impounds a 1.8Mm3 reservoir. Besides power production the project will offer flood protection, and supply water for agriculture and aqua-culture in the districts of Tuong Duong, Con Cuong, Anh Son, Nam Dan and Do Luong.

Electricity of Vietnam is the project owner and main investor, and hopes to accrue an annual turnover of US$57-64M from the scheme. Songda Corporation is the main contractor. Cavico Vietnam is the subcontractor responsible for constructing the tunnels, one third of the plant base and is also in charge of the stone mining. Project costs have amounted to more than US$390M.

Ban Ve was one of five hydro power plants that started construction in 2004. In the first half of 2008 ten hydro projects, equal to 400MW of power, came on line in the highlands and central provinces of the country.

A Luoi, Vietnam

Scheduled to start generating power at the end of 2010, the 170MW A Loui hydro power plant is located on the A Sap River in Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue province.

A Luoi is estimated to cost US$202M and is owned by the Central Hydropower Joint Stock Company (CHP). It includes what has been described as the longest and most sophisticated tunnel under construction in Vietnam. Cavico Corporation is constructing the headrace tunnel at a cost of US$55.4M. It will be 11.6km long, 4-6m wide and will include a surge tank.

Construction at the plant stated in June 2007, with tunnel construction underway in July 2007. Two turbine groups will generate nearly 700GWh/yr.

A Luoi is estimated to cost in the region of US$202M. Investors in the scheme include:

• CHP.

• The Vietnam Bank of Agriculture and Development Rural.

• The Vietnam-Thailand Joint Venture Bank.

• The An Binh Jointstock Commercial bank.

• The Rubber Financing Company.

Son La, Vietnam

In December 2009 Tianjin Alstom Hydro delivered the first runner for the 6x400MW units at the Son La hydro power plant in Vietnam. Weighing in at 210 tons, with a diameter of 8.3m and a height of 3.8m, the runner was delivered on time.

Son La is set to become the largest hydro power scheme in Southeast Asia with its planned 2400MW capacity. Upon completion the plant is expected to generate 10BkWh/yr and will fulfil a significant amount of Vietnam’s energy needs.

Contracts signed in 2007 between Alstom Hydro and Son La’s owner Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), stated that Alstom would provide all electro-mechanical equipment for the project. Located on the Da river in Son La province, the scope of supply encompasses the design, engineering, manufacturing and delivery of 6x400MW Francis turbines and generators, the balance of plant, plus training, supervision of installation, testing and commissioning.

The first unit is due for commissioning in 2010, with the last in 2012. Philippe Cochet, president of Alstom Hydro, said: ‘The Son La hydro power plant is of vital importance in meeting Vietnam’s growing energy needs and we are honoured to be entrusted by Electricity of Vietnam with this important project.’

Development in India

Geological surprises during excavation of the tunnels at the 192MW Allain Duhangan hydro power plant in India has led to cost overruns and delays. Originally scheduled for operation in the summer of 2008, the plant is now expected to reach completion in June 2010. Construction had started six years earlier in 2004.

The run-of-river scheme is utilising water from the Allain and Duhangan rivers in the Kullu District of Himachel Pradesh. Two 96MW vertical, five-jet Pelton units, supplied by LNJ Bhilwara Group, are installed in an underground powerhouse. An above ground switchyard and a 185km transmission line will connect the project to the regional electricity grid.

Allain Duhangan is a build-own-operate project being undertaken by Allain Duhangan Power Company Limited (ADPCL). ADPCL is jointly owned by Rajasthan Spinning and Weaving Mills, HEG Limited and Malana Power Company. Equipment is being supplied by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.

The project will operate as a baseload plant during the summer and rainy seasons, and as a peaking plant in the winter and non-monsoon months. It will have an average annual output of 800GWh.

Construction at the 140MW Alakanada river hydro power project in Uttarakhand, northern India, has also been delayed – but this time by heavy snowfall. The project, with a total head of water of 480m, comprises a 40m high dam, 3km long headrace tunnel and underground penstock leading to an underground power station with 2x70MW run-of-river turbines.

The plant is located on the edge of the Himalayas in the Chamoli district and has between four and six months of heavy snowfall each year. Construction cannot take place during the winter and it is therefore anticipated that the project will take about six years to complete – double the usual amount of time required for construction. Power production is expected to take place in 2011 or 2012.

In 2005 GMR Energy signed an agreement with the government of Uttarakand for a 45-year concession to build-own-operate the plant. Halcrow was appointed to prepare topographic surveys, site investigations and hydrological studies for the scheme.

Another Indian scheme is also due to become operational in 2012 – the 2000MW Subansiri project is located in Assam. Alstom was selected by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation to supply 8x250MW vertical shaft Francis turbines for the scheme. Their scope of supply also encompasses the digital governing system, butterfly valves, the 116kV vertical generators and static excitation system.

In 2008 Alstom Projects India Limited was awarded a contract with Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation for a 240MW turnkey hydro power project, located on the Krishna river in the Mahaboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.

Alstom will design, supply, install, test and commission 6x40MW bulb turbine generator units, along with all associated auxiliary and ancillary equipment.

The project is scheduled to generate power in 2013.

Hydro power in Bhutan

To date, the 1020MW Tala hydro power project is the largest scheme to be undertaken jointly by India and Bhutan. Dam construction began in 1998 and the project was commissioned in March 2007. Commissioning of the plant was planned for 2005 but was delayed by what geologists have described as the worst conditions for tunnelling that have been encountered anywhere in the world.

Drilling of both the upstream and downstream tunnels hit soft spots which were difficult to stabilise in 2003. Around 80% of the strata was judged to be poor or very poor which caused considerable tunnelling delays; while blockages in inclined and vertical pressure shafts delayed completion even more.

Tala is managed by the Tala Hydroelectric Project Authority, and is located on the Wangchu river in western Bhutan. At 860m it is the region’s largest high head project, and has a 92m high dam which feeds a 22km long headrace tunnel. An underground powerhouse has 6x170MW generators. Three 440kV transmission lines go directly to the Indian border as the power is being exported entirely to India. Power generation has been in the region of 4865MkWh/yr at the run-of-river project.

Bhutan plans to export more than 10,000MW of hydro power by 2020. India and Bhutan are working closely together on this and have entered into an agreement concerning co-operation about the joint development of hydro resources. The two countries have plans for more hydro projects. Bhutan has set itself a target of installing 10GW of new hydro generating capacity by 2020 to supply the Indian market.

Agreements on four projects – the 620MW Amochhu reservoir, the 1800MW Kuri Gongri, 670MW Chamkharchhu-I and 486MW Kholongchhu – were signed following meetings between the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan in December 2009. Power generated from the projects will be used by Bhutan, with surplus energy exported to India.

Indian company, Power Grid Corporation, has pledged to construct a new transmission link between Bhutan and central India. The firm was awarded a US$400M loan by the World Bank in November 2008 to increase transmission grid capacity within India to ease the sale of electricity from hydro schemes around the country. With financial support from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, the company has greatly improved downstream power infrastructure across the country since 1990, easing trade in electricity between Indian states and also with neighbouring countries.

Powering wave projects in Japan

Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) has signed an exclusive agreement with a Japanese consortium to develop a demonstration wave power station in Japan. OCT will be working with Idemitsu Kosan Co, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co and Japan Wind Development Co on the project.

The initial phase of the scheme will see OPT and the consortium working with the Japanese government to increase the recognition of wave power in Japanese energy policy, and to identify favourable sites for OPT wave power stations and assess their commercial prospects.

Subject to the successful identification of a project site and completion of economic assessments, the parties plan to enter into an agreement to build a demonstration plant with up to three of the OPT’s PowerBuoys units. The trial plant would provide the basis for the expected building of a commercial-scale OPT wave power station with an initial capacity of 10MW or more.

Under the anticipated agreement to build the demonstration plant, OPT will sell the equipment for the power station to the consortium. For subsequent wave power stations, the consortium will provide manufacturing and maintenance of the power stations and on-going plant operations, while OPT will provide its PowerBuoy technology under licence and also sell certain subsystems of the plant to the consortium.

Sri Lankan schemes

Pöyry has been awarded a EUR 6.1M (US$8.3M) contract for feasibility studies, tender design, detail design and construction supervision of the Uma Oya hydro power project in Sri Lanka. The EPC contractor for the whole project is Farab International of Dubai.

The project comprises two dams and over 15km of water conveyance tunnels, a 700m deep shaft and an underground powerhouse with two Pelton turbines of 150MW total installed capacity. Pöyry has started the study work and the design phase will be completed by the end of 2011. The main construction activities are scheduled to start in early 2011, with power station commissioning anticipated for early 2016. Further details on other dams in Sri Lanka can be found in the box text on p18.

Mini hydro for Philippine rice terraces

The Asian rice terraces are to benefit from the proceeds of a US$1M, e8-donated mini-hydro project.

In January 2010, Philippine officials received the symbolic keys to a donated 200kW hydroelectric project that, in addition to producing energy, will start generating money to halt deterioration of the ancient rice terraces in the Philippines.

The mini hydro facility, located on the Ambangal river downstream of the terraces, will create annually about 1450MWh of much-needed new energy for the area, meeting 18% of the province’s electricity needs. It will also generate some US$70,000 in annual revenue for the new Rice Terrace Conservation Fund, fully dedicated to urgently needed shoring up of the terraces and related activities.

Developed over four years in collaboration with the Philippines Department of Energy and the Provincial Government of Ifugao, the facility was built and donated by Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on behalf of the e8, an international non-profit organisation of ten leading power utilities from G8 countries.

“When this initiative began in 2006, the partners and UNESCO foresaw an opportunity not only to help preserve these historic terraces but to showcase an interesting model of sustainable rural energy development and regional revitalisation - the chance to demonstrate the potential of mini-hydro power generation throughout the Philippines and the region,” said Johane Meagher, e8 Executive Director.

Iraqi dam construction

Over the past few years Iraq has finished the construction of several dams. In 2007 the 22.5m high Harawa dam in the Sulaimaniya/Harawa valley was completed. This earthen structure has a clay core, is 115m long with a storage capacity of 0.764Mm3.

In 2008 the 19m high Shireen earthfill dam was finished 14km southeast of Kirkuk city. This 426m long dam has a storage capacity of 0.752Mm3. The 15m high Horran/2 dam was also completed in the same year. At 500m long this earth dam with a clay core has a storage capacity of 4.0Mm3. It is situated 18km northeast of Al-Ruttba.

Finally in 2009 construction of the Balkana dam in the Kirkuk/Balkana valley was completed. Standing at 22m high, this earthfill dam is 227m long with a storage capacity of 0.61Mm3.

Funding for Afghan flood protection

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UK are extending grants of almost US$90M to help Afghanistan improve its ageing irrigation systems and provide flood protection, as part of a government plan to promote economic growth and reduce poverty.

The grant funds are being provided through the Water Resources Development Investment Programme, a multitranche financing facility, which will provide US$303.3M over 10 years. The government has highlighted the importance and identified investments of US$2.5B for irrigation and water management under its new Afghanistan National Development Strategy.

Agriculture provides a living for about two-thirds of all Afghans and generates about 50% of the country’s gross domestic product. However, reliable production is largely dependent on quality irrigation, and the current infrastructure is in need of substantial rehabilitation with new infrastructure also needed. The country’s prolonged civil conflict has also weakened institutions responsible for managing and developing irrigation and water resources.

The first tranche of the financing facility will support infrastructure improvements in the Balkh River Basin and the Nangahar Valley, which contain areas of prime agricultural land. Funds will be used to establish and train river basin agency staff and water user associations, and to prepare a reform plan for the Nangahar Valley Development Authority, a state-run enterprise. Flood protection works along the Amu Darya river that borders Tajikistan, and is prone to severe flooding and erosion, will also be financed.

ADB will provide 93% of the first tranche funding, and will administer a US$3.3M equivalent cofinancing grant from the UK Government to prepare a Helmand Basin Water Resources Master Plan.

The Government of Afghanistan will supply a US$1M equivalent, while participating farmers will make in-kind contributions of US$1.9M for operations and maintenance for a total investment cost of US$92.8M. The estimated project completion date for the full investment programme is March 2019, and the Ministry of Finance is the executing agency

White River hydro power, China

Three hydroelectric power stations on the White Water river, in the Yunnan Province of China, were completed in 2007. The project is on the Bai-Shui-Jiang, a sub-tributary to the Yangtze river, which flows entirely within China.

The 78MW Yunnan project cost around US$69M and consists of a set of three cascade stations. Projects 1 and 2 are dam-gate, run-of-river stations, while project 3 is a dam diversion mixed station with a 2660m long water diversion tunnel. Each of the three hydro power stations has a concrete gravity dam, narrow reservoir and a powerhouse. The dam for station 1 is 30m high, with total capacity of 5.6Mm3, generating 15MW. Dam 2 is 28.2m high, holds 6Mm3, generating 15MW. At 44.5m high, dam 3 holds 17.4Mm3 and generates 48MW.

Expected annual average electricity sales are 369GWh to the Yunnan Provincial Grid, part of the China Southern Power Grid (CSPG).

Boguchany hydro power plant, Russia

Plans for the Boguchany hydro power plant were first developed in 1947. Preparatory work for construction began in 1974 and a design was proposed by Hydroproject in 1976. Construction of the plant began on the Angara river in 1980 and turbine units were delivered to the site in 1988, with startup planned for 1992. However, financing problems meant that work was suspended.

Under a joint venture collaboration, the project was revived in 2005 by OAO Boguchanskaya GES. RAO UES (owner of Russian electricity generation company RusHydro) and aluminium producer Rusal had agreed to work together on the scheme and construction swung back into action in 2007.

The 3000MW scheme will consist of a 774m long, 79m wide gravity dam fitted with 9x333MW turbine units. These are being designed and manufactured by Russian engineering company Power Machines.

The project is expected to see three turbines commissioned every year from 2010 to 2012, with the aim of reaching its full generating capacity of 17.6TWh by 2012.

The start up of Boguchany has also grown in importance following the accident in August 2009 at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant in Russia. Boguchany is seen as the best way to replace lost capacity while repairs are being implemented. The 6400MW Sayano-Shushenskaya plant isn’t expected to be fully operational again until 2014.

Some of the project profiles have been used courtesy of

Embankment Embankment
A Luoi A Luoi
Nachchaduwa Earth embankment Nachchaduwa Earth embankment

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