WEC Projects helps deliver a Mini Hydro-Power Solution!
July 4, 2017
WEC Projects together with the University of Pretoria assisted in providing electricity to a small community in the Mhlontlo Local Municipality through the implementation of a mini Hydro-Power project that was completed in the 1st quarter of 2017, with a total project duration of approximately 7 months. WEC Projects has a strong focus on renewable energies in the water sector, and the project was a natural fit, adding to the company’s impressive portfolio in renewables which includes pioneering biogas to energy projects on bulk sewage treatment facilities in the greater Johannesburg area.
The Mini Hydro-Power Scheme is a run-of river scheme on the Thina River. The intake is located at the top of the Thina Falls and the Turbine Room located at its bottom, with a penstock drilled through the mountain to reroute water through a turbine-generator that produces electricity. The intake structure consists of an intake, primary screen and cleaning rack. A 42m x 450mm diameter headrace connects the intake structure to a junction chamber with a manual value for shut down and maintenance periods. Water is abstracted from the river through the intake, conveyed by the headrace to the junction chamber and conveyed through a 116m x 355mm diameter penstock to the turbine-generator contained in the containerized turbine room. The penstock makes it possible to transform the potential energy of the water into kinetic energy, this due to the 50m head available and also the 150l/s of water flow.
The project tested our project managers to think outside the box for solutions on project logistics. A lack of tar roads and an inaccessible site made it difficult to get the turbine in place. In the end, a temporary road was built for the WEC trucks and we delivered despite the river flooding.
It’s a unique project that demonstrates tangible benefits to a community in need and it was a privilege to be involved in a small manner in ensuring an entire community now has electricity in their homes. What’s makes it even sweeter is that the power produced is completely green and sustainable.