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Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia. This paper presents the technical and economic feasibility of grid connected small scale hydropower construction in selected site of the Kulfo River in southern Ethiopia. In doing so the paper presents the general overview of Ethiopia electric power situation; small scale hydropower situation and barriers and drivers for its development; site assessment and cost estimation methods and at the end presents techno-economic analysis of small scale hydropower development on the Kulfo River in southern Ethiopia.
The result of simulation shows that the construction of small scale hydropower in the Kulfo River is technically and economically feasible with total net present cost of 13,,, cost of energy 0. Ethiopia is located in east Africa with total area of 1. The country power generation dominated by large hydropower. The mountainous landscape feature coupled with hydrological condition enables the country to generate electricity from hydropower at relatively lower cost when compared to other energy sources.
The government has taken different measures to increase electrification access in the country of which formulation of energy policy in is one of the positive drives [ 5 ].
The policy encourages the use of indigenous resources and renewable energy to secure energy supply and reduce use and dependency on fossil fuel. The policy puts hydropower resource development as top priority due to availability of high potential site suitable to generate electricity at relatively lower cost.
Furthermore, the revised policy in and encourages private independent power producer IPP to participate in energy generation by formulating necessary incentives and feed in tariff law [ 6 , 7 ]. The revised policy also gave due attention for rural electrification by using renewable energy based off-grid technology. EREDPC is mandated for off-grid access expansion by promoting private sector led off-grid rural electrification through participation of the private sector, cooperatives, community based organization, and local government where EEPCO cannot cover them due to economic terms.
According to a year master plan, EEPCO focused on the development of medium and large hydropower plant [ 9 ] even though the country has substantial rivers and streams suitable for small scale hydropower development.
The government five-year — growth and transformation plan mainly focus on the development of large hydropower, whereas small and micro hydropower development have been left to private sector and NGO who are willing to support rural electrification program. As a result the contribution of small and micro hydropower in the energy pool of the country is insignificant. However, there are numerous potential sites identified by the government to generate electric power in small, mini, and micro hydropower capacity.
Currently there are few small hydropower plants operational; most of them built by the German Cooperation Organization GIZ. If this potential is exploited and put into operation, it could provide a considerable contribution to the energy mix of the country by meeting the power deficit in the national grid, substituting diesel generators in main and isolated grid and electrifying remote rural area. In recent times, the imbalance between demand and supply of electricity coupled with the inefficiency of electric utility service created huge gap and also negatively affected the economy of the country.
The development of small hydropower in potential rivers in the country with low construction and commissioning time will alleviate the power imbalance. Therefore, this paper examines techno-economic feasibility of small hydropower development on the Kulfo River in the Gamo Gofa zone, near to Arba Minch town in the southern part of Ethiopia to give insight to government, private sector investors, and interested NGO who are willing to contribute to small scale power generation development of the country.
The paper is organized in eight sections. Section 1 is an introduction; Section 2 describes the situation of small scale hydropower development in Ethiopia, its classification, barriers, and drivers; the working principle is described in Section 3 ; Section 4 discusses site assessment and cost estimation method; Section 5 discusses the background of the study site and load profile; Section 6 discusses methodologies; the simulation result will be discussed in Section 7 ; and conclusion is put in Section 8.
The available potential of small scale hydropower in the country has hardly been exploited so far due to government focus on large scale hydropower development to meet the energy demand of the country. Figure 1 shows major location of river basin in Ethiopia.
The hydropower plant is classified broadly into different classes based on quantity of water available, available head, and nature of the load [ 16 ]. However, classifications vary from country to country as there is currently no internationally agreed standard.
Ethiopia uses a classification of hydropower systems which differs from other countries as shown in Table 1. In the past majority of small scale hydropower schemes in the country were abandoned due to the encroachment of the national grid with cheaper and more reliable electricity.
To facilitate and support the financing of small scale hydropower scheme the government has also set aside rural energy development and promotion centre under Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, mandated to i promote small scale hydropower and other renewable energy sources, ii provide financial support to develop SHP and other renewable energy sources by setting rural electrification fund.
Furthermore, feed in tariffs is under review to encourage private sector participation in power sector development. Therefore, the government incentives, policy, and regulations put SHP business in favourable condition in Ethiopia in recent times.
There are several pull and push mechanisms set by the government in order to spur the market of SHP despite considerable barriers for market development.
The working principle of small hydropower is not different from that of large scale hydropower. It captures the energy of falling water to generate electricity. The water turbine, which is different type depending upon the head and flow rate, converts the energy of falling water into mechanical energy [ 18 ].
The amount of electricity produced mainly depends upon the two factors [ 19 ]: a head: the distance that the water falls; b flow rate: the volume of water that pass through a given point per second usually measured in meter cube per second. For fixed head the more the water is falling per second on the turbine, the more the power will be produced and vice versa.
The flow rate of a given stream may vary seasonally depending upon the location of the site. Different types of water turbine can be used to convert kinetic energy of the flowing water into mechanical energy rotation of the shaft. The selection of the turbine depends upon head and flow rate as explained in [ 20 , 21 ]. Furthermore, care has to be taken in terms of constructability, cost, efficiency, maintenance and serviceability, portability, and scope of modularity during turbine selection.
Assessment of the site is a prerequisite in any hydropower development [ 22 — 24 ]. From the result of site assessment one can decide whether the given site is a viable option for hydropower development or not [ 25 ].
The key parameters during the assessment are the pressure head, the flow rate of the given river, and wire to water efficiency of the overall system. This parameter can be easily found through measurement and manufacturer specification. As seen from the above equation the power generated from the turbine depends upon the discharge rate , the net head , and overall efficiency of the system since other variables are constant in the equation.
For the same power output one can either increase head or discharge rate. Usually the head is site-dependent and could not be varied. However, the flow rate can be varied by controlling the water entering into the penstock. However, the turbine should have a capacity to accommodate the increased discharge. Furthermore, the head, the discharge, and the desired rotational speed of the generator determine the type of turbine to be used. More head or faster flowing water means more power.
Design flow is the maximum flow for which the hydrosystem is designed. It will likely be less than the maximum flow of the stream especially during the rainy season , more than the minimum flow, and a compromise between potential electrical output and system cost [ 26 ].
The flow duration curve FDC provides means of selecting the right design discharge by taking into account reserved residual flow for environmental and aquatic life purpose. Usually the design flow is assumed to be the difference between the mean annual flow and the residual flow [ 27 ]:. Once the design flow and net head are estimated, suitable head can be selected from turbine selection chart and also note that every turbine has a minimum technical flow under which the turbine cannot operate or has very low efficiency.
In general, planning a hydropower project is a complex and iterative process, where consideration is given to the environmental impact, technological options, economic evaluation, and other constraints.
Even though it is difficult to provide a detailed guide on how to evaluate a hydropower scheme, it is possible to provide a short feasibility study of a given site configuration in order to develop the project [ 28 , 29 ]. Figure 2 shows the steps of developing and planning a micro hydropower project [ 30 ].
The geographical and geological features along with the effective head, available flow, equipment turbines, generators, etc. In general the cost of hydropower project highly depends upon the site and the location of the project, whether the parts are manufactured locally or imported, and the availability of local skilled manpower to construct and maintain the plant. Among the many factors that affect the cost of a project are site topography, rock quality, availability of access roads, and the distance to the interconnected grid, earthquake risk, and sediment load in the river [ 32 ].
Of course, hydrology and local cost of labor, cement, steel, and explosives also must be factored into the cost equation. In order to grasp the cost structure of hydropower plant around the world and Ethiopia search and review of literatures have been carried out from relevant published papers and reports [ 33 , 34 ].
Several studies have been carried out to analyze the cost of small hydropower development depending upon the hydraulic characteristics of a given site and a number of cost estimation equations were developed to suite the site specific condition. The researchers on [ 35 — 37 ] developed empirical equations to estimate the cost of hydropower projects based on cost of electromechanical equipment, installed power, hydraulic head, location factors, and so forth. However, developed equations have limitation to apply for all countries in the world since the assumptions used were not inclusive of the nature in all countries.
Therefore the World Bank group and IEA [ 38 ] studied extensively the project cost of different hydropower projects in the globe and come out with the cost range table depending upon the hydropower type Table 2 [ 38 ].
The river flows through Arba Minch forest and drains into Lake Chamo. The site was selected due to the fact that the river flows throughout the year; it is near to national grid so that it can be easily connected to national grid with low grid interconnection charge; the train of the site is very suitable for hydropower development; and the construction of the power plant does not have social and environmental impact. Its average flow rate is The river has high daily and intermonth variability and low interyear variability.
In cases where there were gaps within the data, due to temporary failures of the measuring equipment, the record system, or any other reason, the gaps were noted and the average data of the previous day and the day after the missed data was taken.
Furthermore, the data sets were carefully screened for anomalies. Figure 5 shows the monthly flow rate of the Kulfo River. Prefeasibility study has been done on the site in order to get basic information on the situation of the site, the variability of the river, and the demographic and topographic nature of the site and also to analyze the suitability of the topography for hydropower generation.
Form feasibility study it is noted that, in downstream of the river, there is agricultural land owned by private investor which uses part of the river for irrigation. Part of the river is also used by people settled along the water shed of the river. As a result, the location selected for construction of small scale hydropower is above the agricultural land and does not affect the operation of farming in downstream.
As shown in Figure 5 the river has high variability and is not suitable to construct run of river scheme without diversion. The diversion also helps to settle the debris and to control flow of water during rain and dry seasons.
Due to hydraulic head limitation and flow constraints the maximum economical potential of the river has calculated as 2. SMART Mini-IDRO is a tool for technical and economical evaluation of mini hydropower plants and evaluates the energy production, benefits, and financial aspects and assesses the discharge availability.
Figure 6 shows FDC and power curve of the site. Extensive literature review has been done to grasp the status of electrification and its challenge in the country by giving particular attention on small scale hydropower development to know its past and present status, drivers, barriers, and deployment. The site assessment and cost estimation method in hydropower development have also been reviewed.
After getting overall situation on electrification status, small and large scale hydropower development, site assessment, and cost estimation methods, case study site the Kulfo River has been selected in southern Ethiopia near Arba Minch town with the following assumptions: i The developed small hydropower is intended to be owned by the private power producer IPP. National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL to assist the design of micro power system and to facilitate the comparison of different technologies [ 43 , 44 ].
The software can model off-grid and grid connected power system. It performs three principal tasks: simulation, optimization, and sensitivity analysis. In the simulation process, the software models the performance of a micro power system configuration each hour of the year to determine its technical feasibility and life cycle cost. In the optimization process it searches among feasible options the one that satisfies technical constraints at the lowest life cycle cost.
In the sensitivity analysis process it assesses the effect of uncertainty or change in the variable over which the designer has no control such as change in flow rate, interest rate, and inflation rate.
HOMER uses net present cost NPC method to represent the life cycle cost of the system and rank the optimal feasible one according to total net present cost and present the feasible one with lowest total net present cost as the optimal system. HOMER software has been used to find the optimal total net present cost TNPC , generation cost of the power plant, to do sensitivity analysis on determinant but uncontrollable variables flow rate, inflation rate, load change, and grid sale capacity , to compute the total amount electricity purchased from and sold to the grid in kilowatt hour kWh.
RETscreen software has been used to compute simple payback period, internal rate of return and to draw cumulative cash flow within project life time.
The controversial impacts of hydropower development are still debatable, especially when dams are constructed in the mainstream of multinational rivers. This study examines the impacts of the Xaiyaburi hydropower project constructed in the mainstream of the Mekong River in Bolikhamxay province, Lao PDR. In addition, this project is expected to earn an 8. However, the result from the financial cost and benefit analysis FCBA might not be enough to fully understand the impacts of hydropower development. We, therefore, extended the CBA analysis into broader issues by including the opportunity cost related to environmental impacts caused by the project into consideration. The opportunity cost considered in this study consisted of 2 categories, Used and Non-Used Value. Similar to the FCBA, we found economical feasibility for the project.
Costs and benefits are expressed as far as possible in monetary terms so that they can be compared on an equal level.
Premium Membership. Learn from experienced power engineers. While the cost of the generating equipment is almost a linear function of power size in kW , the cost of civil works depends on the physical characteristics of the site. Similarly, the cost of the electrical lines depends on the type of grid and on the distance to the connection point. The terms for connecting to the grid differ widely in the EU with some countries deliberately leaving only part of the cost to developers, while in other Member States eg Spain, Germany all the costs are born by the investor. Other development costs have to be taken into account: engineering studies, environmental impact studies and the legal fees to submit the project for approval to the different public bodies involved.
Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia. This paper presents the technical and economic feasibility of grid connected small scale hydropower construction in selected site of the Kulfo River in southern Ethiopia. In doing so the paper presents the general overview of Ethiopia electric power situation; small scale hydropower situation and barriers and drivers for its development; site assessment and cost estimation methods and at the end presents techno-economic analysis of small scale hydropower development on the Kulfo River in southern Ethiopia. The result of simulation shows that the construction of small scale hydropower in the Kulfo River is technically and economically feasible with total net present cost of 13,,, cost of energy 0. Ethiopia is located in east Africa with total area of 1.
However, by virtue being the nature of private company, the projects being developed by private sectors in Nepal focus mainly on financial.
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