Neusberg hydropower project
Client: Kakamas Hydro Electric Power (Pty) Ltd (KHEP)
Location: Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Date: March 2011 – January 2015
Finding innovative engineering solutions to produce reliable, economical and sustainable hydropower with minimum impacts on other water stakeholders and values
South Africa is encouraging the development of renewable energy by independent power producers to raise the living standards of its growing population and support economic activity. Entura was engaged to support the development of a 10 MW run-of-river hydropower plant in the Northern Cape, on the Orange River downstream of the existing Neusberg Weir.
A major challenge for the Neusberg project was to produce economical and reliable power to relieve pressure on the electricity network at the same time as ensuring adequate water supply for irrigation by local fruit-growers throughout the construction and operation of the project. Other specific local requirements also needed to be met, such as maintaining the ability of the Neusberg Weir to meaningfully measure river flow, maintaining the aquatic environment and minimising the impacts from construction activities.
Entura provided owner's engineer services throughout the development of the project, including preparation of tender documentation and contracts, conducting tendering of civil works and electrical and mechanical supply and install, assisting with obtaining government approvals for the project, and preparing detailed tender design drawings and specifications. Entura prepared the detailed design documentation for the civil works contractor, provided on-ground design liaison services and was also the EPC contractor managing the supply of electrical and mechanical equipment.
Particular innovations resulting in potential additional revenue for the owner include:
- design of an offtake weir providing passive protection against drawdown of the water level at Neusberg Weir, whilst allowing sufficient flow into the headrace canal
- optimisation of the headrace canal arrangement to minimise head losses and construction costs
- removal of the above-ground superstructure of the turbine chamber to provide easier access for large equipment, while reducing costs and impacts of construction
- inclusion of a crump weir in the tailrace of the project to meet flow measurement obligations and provide a barrier to fish passage away from the powerhouse flows
- careful construction planning to ensure continuity of irrigation water supply.
Entura’s significant experience of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of hydroelectric projects contributed the innovative design solutions and effective planning and collaboration that the Neusberg project required to meet the needs of the region, satisfy the requirements of all major authorities and stakeholders, and still achieve the objectives of the developer.