Irkutsk, July 12, 2019 – En+ Group, a leading vertically integrated aluminium and power producer, announces upgrades to the Irkutsk HPP within the framework of an ambitious "New Energy" hydroelectric power plant modernization program in Eastern Siberia. Under the programme, 4 of the 8 hydropower units installed at the plant will be replaced.
Today work began to replace the Irkutsk HPP’s Hydropower Unit No. 2, originally commissioned in 1956. Whilst the "New Energy" program is being launched at the Irkutsk HPP, it will be implemented across all of the Group's hydropower assets in Eastern Siberia. Four of the Irkutsk HPP’s eight hydropower units will be replaced by 2023, with the capacity of each unit expected to increase from 82.8 MW to 105.7 MW.
Although in the past impellers at the Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk and Krasnoyarsk HPPs and the hydraulic turbine and stator windings at Krasnoyarsk HPP have been replaced, a full hydropower unit (turbine and generator) replacement has never been performed at any of En+ Group’s stations. This project will therefore require the Company’s exemplary standards of concentration and professionalism throughout.
Since its commissioning, Hydropower Unit No. 2 has been operating for 475,462 hours. The new hydropower units for Irkutsk HPP were produced at Russian plants: the hydraulic turbines were designed and manufactured at Tyazhmash (Syzran), and the generator is produced by Elsib NPO (Novosibirsk). The total weight of the supplied equipment will exceed 2,000 tons.
Propeller-type turbines will be installed in place of the current rotary-blade hydraulic turbines that were installed at the first hydroelectric power station in Eastern Siberia in the late 1950s. The impeller of the upgraded turbine boasts a higher energy performance within the optimal operating mode, and at the same a simplified design has improved its operational reliability.
The impeller’s brand new hydraulic profile offers increased efficiency and better cavitation, increasing power by almost 20%. These results have been confirmed by profile acceptance tests performed by the laboratory of water turbines of the ČKD Blansko Holding (Czech Republic) – a subsidiary of Tyazhmash JSC (Syzran).
The Irkutsk HPP upgrade program is part of the large-scale "New Energy" modernization program being implemented at the Angara-Yenisei cascade HPPs, which are part of En+ Group (Ust-Ilimsk, Bratsk, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk HPPs). "New Energy" is a key investment project of the Group, where one of its main priorities is to improve the reliability and safety of all plants, including the Irkutsk HPP.
The modernization of equipment at En+ Group’s hydroelectric power plants will increase its efficiency, allow for the reduction of repair costs, and improve performance, both for the units and for the stations in general. The program, which is due to be completed by 2046, will not only involve a comprehensive replacement of primary (hydraulic units, impellers), but also auxiliary equipment. Including funding to date, the investments will amount to 21 billion roubles by 2026. At current prices, the valuation of additional investments by 2046 will reach approximately 34 billion roubles.
The HPP equipment upgrade will make it possible to increase the level of energy generation from the same volume of water (271 GWh of electricity in the first quarter of 2019). As a result of the program, starting from 2022 the group’s Siberian hydroelectric power plants are expected to increase their clean electricity generation by 2 TWh, from the same amount of water passing through the turbines. This will reduce the Group's greenhouse gas emissions by 2.3 million tons per year, which will have a positive impact on the ecology of the Siberian regions.
Vladimir Kiryukhin, CEO of En+ Group commented:
“HPP modernization is a key element of the Group's development program, as it is aimed at increasing clean energy production. Significantly, the equipment upgrade is not being driven by the need to replace obsolete equipment - the "New Energy" program is aimed at introducing leading-edge technology relating to generation, energy savings, industrial and environmental safety. In the long term the program will ensure that we have some of the best-performing hydroelectric power plants in the industry.”