Ganz EEM and its South African partner and energy solutions provider Blue World Power Energy and Resources recently signed a contract to supply hydro-electric equipment for the installation of a small-scale hydroelectric power plant at Mpompomo Falls, near Barberton in Mpumalanga.

Alexander Merten, the President of Rusatom International Network (RIN), noted that this was the first of many envisaged mini hydro projects in the Sub-Sharan African region.

Merten said: “This is our first contract with Blue World Power and Energy Services, with a scope to install a low-yield (700kw) hydro-electric power plant in South Africa.

“This is just the beginning of our envisaged large-scale cooperation programme in the field of small-scale hydropower engineering in Central and South African countries.”

Rosatom offers numerous energy solutions for African countries and one of the most promising is an innovative containerised mini-hydropower plant with a design capacity of up to 2MW.

A single facility is capable of providing electricity to between 250-400 houses. The installation requires no dam construction and causes no environmental harm to the river and other reservoir ecology.

The compact container solution makes it possible to considerably reduce the commissioning time and cuts construction costs drastically. 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, mobile communications network, or the Internet (with a mobile option available).

The technology of mini hydro-electric power plants fits 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 1MW and a capacity factor of 93%, is three years.

Blue World Power Energy and Resources managing director Gavin Carlson noted that the company is working on various potential projects in the African market: “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.”