Equipment upgrades improve efficiency at Swedish hydro plants

22 January 2018

Two hydropower plants in Sweden that are over 100 years old have seen their efficiency and environmental compatibility improved thanks to new technology from Voith.

The upgrade work was carried out at the Semla and Graninge hydropower plants, with the result that the Graninge plant now generates double the amount of electricity and the Semla plant a third more than the original plant.

Voith supplied and installed a complete horizontal bulb unit with generator and hydraulic governor at Semla 4 hydropower plant, which replaces Semla 3. Located in the municipality of Fagersta along the Kolbäcksån River in the south of Sweden, the plant now has a power generation capacity of approximately 15 million kWh thanks to the new equipment. The new plant has also seen oil volumes reduced significantly, lowering the total cost of ownership and minimizing both risks and the plant’s impact on the environment.

“Optimizing existing hydropower plants is one of the best options for producing more renewable energies. But another decisive factor is that, as a result, the impact on the environment is neutralized,” says Torbjörn Tärnhuvud, CEO of Sydkraft Hydro Power. Sydkraft is a member of the Uniper Group, which owns 76 hydropower plants, including Semla 4, and contrib-utes 12 percent of the hydropower produced in Sweden.

Uniper also operates the Graninge hydropower plant in Sollefteå, about 450km north of Semla 4. Voith replaced virtually everything inside the plant walls with new technology. As a result, Graninge received a completely new electrical system, control equipment and generator, as well as a new turbine to replace its 100-year-old unit.

“The new plant works so efficiently that we are now generating 3.2GW of eco-friendly electricity – twice as much as before,” said Tärnhuvud.

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