EU Project Hydro4USmall hydropower solutions on their way to Central Asia
During a two-day meeting from 20-21 of June 2023, organisations from European and Central Asian research and industry evaluated the progress of their past activities within the EU-funded project Hydro4U while also discussing the next steps. As the project is currently on time within the foreseen schedule, the aim is to keep the planned timeline of the small-hydro-power solutions in the Shakimardan Enclave (Uzbekistan) and At-Bashy (Kyrgyzstan). The Hydro4U project ensures eco-friendly small-hydropower solutions in these two demonstration sites.
Central Asia is a region with a large theoretical potential for electricity generation from hydropower. For decades, electricity generation from hydropower has been playing a significant role especially in the upstream countries. However, the existing hydropower fleet consist mainly of old facilities, while new developments have been rather limited.
The core of the Hydro4U project is therefore to design, implement and assess two real-scale small hydropower plants with two pre-defined European technology solutions which are both following a modular and scalable approach:
- At the Shakimardan Enclave (Uzbekistan): A medium-head small hydropower facility using the Francis-Container-Power-Solution manufactured by Global Hydro. The Francis Container Power Solution (FCPS) will be demonstrated in collaboration with state utility Uzbekgidroenergo.
- In At-Bashy (Kyrgyzstan): The low head run-of-river hydroshaft concept will be incorporated in an existing diversion weir. The Hydroshaft Power Solution (HSPS) will be demonstrated in partnership with the private company Orion LLC.
The demo-sites will show how hydropower production and ecological conservation can benefit from each other.
On two consecutive days in June, the 13 Hydro4U project partners from 8 countries met online to discuss past activities and to continuously plan future actions. During the first part of the project, the major focus lied on data collection and the establishment of further partnerships in the region, with important stakeholder such as government bodies, authorities, NGOs, utilities, private project developers, farmers as well as the local residents.
A high-quality database containing hydrological, topography, environmental and socio-economic information was established to build a solid basis for the forthcoming activities.
Regarding the current status of the technology solutions, the overall technical design of the two demonstration plants, the manufacturing of the container solution and the construction work on-site in Shakimardan have already started and are progressing well.
Besides technology development, the consortium members have also implemented innovative tools and methods for planning and assessment, in order to establish their application in Central Asia and raise awareness on the importance of an environmentally compatible use and replication of hydropower potential. On a larger scale, the assessment of the hydropower potential has been started by creating a GIS-database containing all relevant information. In parallel, the elaboration of a Water-Energy-Food-Climate Nexus monitoring and accounting system has started and is set to manage water resources in a sustainable way to share energy and agriculture benefits in a climate-sensitive manner and improve transboundary cooperation.
In order to enhance further developments, replication activities have also been put in place. The goal thereby is to prepare further commercial possibilities for the consortium members while the project is ongoing. This is mainly done via the elaboration of a replication plan in close connection to the mentioned Hydropower Potential Assessment, including so-called planning activities. These represent bankable feasibility studies for small hydropower projects in collaboration with potential local investors.
With the focus on inclusion of local and regional stakeholders, the Hydro4U project also proves its commitment to have a positive socio-economic impact on Central Asian countries.
At both demonstration sites, local communities have been involved in the planning process and showed major interest in their successful implementation, as they expect to profit from them through increased energy security, labour possibilities, knowledge transfer and increased visibility.
Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supported the Technical University of Munich, which is coordinating the project, from the very beginning, starting from the project conception phase with the other 11 partners and assisted them in the application process. In the project, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum works systematically with the partners to describe the impact of innovative results, define the exploitation intentions, and clarify ownership and IPR. In a further collaborative process, the most promising project results are selected. Small working groups will then work out different aspects for these, e.g., on the Central Asian framework conditions for market entry and adequate business models.
Through the partnership with local companies for the implementation and later operation of the demonstration power plants, significant transfer of knowledge and the raise of awareness on environmental impacts of human development is achieved.
As an innovation action Hydro4U receives more than 9.9 million funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme from 6/2021 to 5/2026.
Find out more on the project website: Hydro4UZu allen Artikel