JSC RusHydro has announced that it is considering potential cooperation with the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) on the construction of storage-based hydroelectric facilities on the feeder rivers of the Amur to contain future flooding in the region.

Evgeny Dod, Chairman of the Management Board of RusHydro, and Cao Guangjing, Chairman of the Board of CTG, agreed to sign a cooperation agreement during a recent meeting in Beijing.

Large floods in the Far East of Russia and North-Eastern region of China in 2013 caused by ample rainfall have made it necessary to consider how to mitigate future flood risk. The construction of reservoir-based hydropower plants are considered by RusHydro management to be one of the most efficient measures of flood management. Both RusHydro and CTG expressed their interest in the joint development of such facilities on the feeders of the Amur River.

The companies agreed to discuss the organizational form of cooperation and its financing principles, as well as to develop proposals for electricity sales.

RusHydro and CTG will present their joint proposals for consideration of the governments of Russia and China.

The flood of 2013 in the Amur River basin was the strongest in the entire history of hydrological observations. It had unique scope covering all rivers of the basin, including those located in the Chinese part of the basin. The flood was caused by powerful cyclones that had led to prolonged heavy rainfalls. The situation in Khabarovsk region was complicated by high volume flows of Ussuri and Sungari rivers, most of this flow originating in Chinese territory. Currently, these rivers are responsible for more than 35% of the Amur River flow.

The flood impact was substantially mitigated by RusHydro’s Zeyskaya and Bureyskaya hydropower plants: approximately two thirds of the flood flow volume accumulated in their reservoirs. This prevented the levels of Amur River in Blagoveschensk from reaching its historic peak levels, which could have had disastrous consequences. Due to significant reserve volume of the Zeyskaya reservoir, the flood peak was reduced by more than three times: from 11,700m³/sec in the headrace to 3,500m³/sec in the tailrace.

Significant parts of the Amur River still remains unregulated by reservoirs, leaving it open to periodic catastrophic floods. In order to mitigate the floods and to prevent possible damage, construction of new hydropower dams with large reservoirs is essential, as well as construction of counter-regulator dams in tailrace of the existing large hydropower plants, RusHydro said in a statement.

Currently, construction of the RusHydro’s Nizhne-Bureyskaya hydropower plant, counter-regulator for the Bureyskaya plant, is in progress. Project documentation for the Nizhne-Zeyskaya HPP, counter-regulator for the Zeyskaya HPP, has been developed. Other hydropower projects with regulating reservoirs on tributaries of the rivers Zeya and Bureya may include the Selimdzhinskaya, Giluyskaya and Nizhne-Nimanskaya dams.

On 21 September 2013, President Vladimir Putin commissioned the Government of the Russian Federation to develop the program for construction of new hydropower facilities in the Far East of Russia by the end of the year. The new power plants could provide protection from floods, improve reliability of electricity supply, and create new job opportunities.


Image: Bureyskaya hydropower plant