SIEMENS SMALL HYDRO: MARKET LEADERSHIP IN ALBANIA
Siemens can look back on decades of experience in the energy sector and can point to an installed based comprising hundreds of small hydro facilities all over the world.
The company is well known for its technological competence, its profound knowledge in the field of power plant construction and refurbishment, and its excellent service provision. As a system provider, Siemens is also the ideal choice for turnkey solutions, which the company is able to provide as a consequence of its portfolio that covers the entire energy value generation chain. Operators primarily benefit from increased profitability and availability of their facilities, typically coupled with a reduction of their operating costs. As a product, services and solutions provider with regional companies around the globe, Siemens is capable of offering both efficient and on-site customer services. Commissioned to work on the power plants Llenge 1 and 3, the company is further enlarging its market share in Albania, a country known for its abundant water resources.
Albania is the the world’s leading country in terms of hydropower utilization. 90 percent of the Balkan state’s energy requirement is provided by hydropower – a share unmatched in any other country of the world. No wonder, then, that Albania is vigorously committed to utilising its huge hydropower potential. One of the leading enablers of hydropower is Siemens Small Hydro in Salzburg, which recently proved its know-how with the implementation of the Llenge chain of power plants in the southern province of Korça. Korça province, which is situated around 300 km to the southeast of the country’s capital, of Tirana is known for its mountainous terrain, where major rivers of the country's southern and central regions have their source. As a consequence, the region provides excellent conditions for hydropower utilizatsation.
The Llenge chain of power stations comprises the Llenge 1 & 3 facilities. Each is equipped with a horizontal five-jet Pelton turbine and a synchronous generator, providing 2300 kVA and 2000 kVA, respectively. Both stations will in future supply renewable hydroelectric power to hundreds of Albanian households. At the same time, they will contribute to the stability and supply security of the national grid.
HEPP-Llenge 1 & 3
Siemens Small Hydro in Salzburg had been commissioned to provide the entire range of electromechanical equipment for both power plants. This constitutes another milestone for Siemens as a competent and experienced partner for small hydro turn-key solutions. Furthermore, customer relations are highly valued at Siemens, which enabled the company to partner up with the experienced Slovenian turbine manufacturer Siapro at a very early planning stage. The result: An economically and technologically sound and seamless concept, ranging from the turbine to the connection to the 35 kV grid – in other words, a true “water-to-wire” project. As a result, Siemens was tasked with the design of the turbines and the power house, with the cable run optimization and also provided financial consulting prior to the contract even being signed. In the end, the customer received a full-service package covering the entire electromechanical equipment.
State-of-the-art control engineering
The two turbines generate 4300 kVA of electrical power by means of directly coupled synchronous generators, which is subsequently fed into the national grid by means of a Siemens power transformer via a 35 kV switchgear.
Furthermore, a state of the art solution is responsible for the turbine regulation: The Siemens SIPOCON-H turbine governor, which is based on the Simatic S7-1500 product family. The customer specifically opted for this solution, as it represents the most advanced and economic control technology Siemens has to offer.
Getting to the Korça power stations proved to be an exciting, interesting, outright adventurous and economic endeavor. Whenever they returned from a journey to the Albanian construction site, the engineers from the Competence Center in Salzburg had a lot to talk about. Going by car from the airport in Tirana takes around three hours as one trundles past fields, steep, rocky cliffs and Albania’s two largest cities, Tirana and Elbasan. The last turn of the trip leads to the tributary valley, with the Llenge chain of power stations situated at the far end. The final 40 kilometers to the head of the valley require another two hours of driving at an average speed of 20 k.p.h.. Along the route, the off-road vehicle has to cross over numerous river branches on a road that has been blasted out of the rock. Following a total of five hours, you finally reach your destination: The hydropower station Llenge 1, smack in the middle of Albania’s southern mountain range. As a result of the prevailing geological conditions, excavation work and a series of landslide-preventing measures also had to be done.
Good cooperation well worth ITS while
In the spirit of the European ideal, the mechanical and electrical work, amongst others, was carried out with the support of a locally hired workforce and Austrians and Albanians collaborated smoothly across their various assigned disciplines. Upon handover, the customer was delighted with both the result and the underlying professional project management. “I was particularly impressed by the high level of professionalism displayed by all involved parties,” states project manager Andreas Lienbacher. As a result of the customer’s positive feedback and the excellent cooperation across cultural boundaries, Siemens has already been awarded a follow-up contract. Two further projects in the neighboring valley are already in the implementation stage.