Rehabilitating and Uprating the Roseires Hydropower Plant: A Visit to Sudan

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The hydroelectric dam of Roseires

The “New Roseires” hydropower plant in Sudan will in the future provide to the country an important expansion in power generation capacity, enough for supplying electricity to thousands of additional homes, as well as public infrastructure (e.g. hospitals). This will significantly increase the quality of living of the Sudanese population. Electrical Engineer Julio Hildebrand is part of the Lahmeyer team advising Sudanese Hydro Generation Company Ltd (SHGC) on the dam’s rehabilitation and uprating. Discover the project from Julio’s perspective.

A new challenge

In October 2017, I was invited to join the Lahmeyer team assigned in the project of the rehabilitation and uprating of Roseires HPP. The Hydropower Plant is located at the Blue Nile river, about 550 km south of Khartoum, close to the city of Ad-Damazin. The dam was constructed between 1961 and 1966. Its initial task was to provide water supply for irrigation and flood control. Later a power house with generating units was included. The first task with my involvement was a trip in November 2017 for a visit to the plant.

Sudan, a new experience

It would neither be my first job in the Hydropower field and nor my first project in Africa. Nonetheless, certain aspects made the mission particular and very interesting. First was: what to expect from Sudan? Despite of having previous experience with countries considered similar (e.g. Egypt), each place is unique. And upon arrival I could notice what was to me the most expressive characteristic of the Sudanese people: how friendly and supportive they are. No matter if it was an offer for a simple cup of coffee with herbs or assistance to find a generator drawing within the files; the locals were always focused on helping and making you pleased.

Second was having the chance to visit the capital Khartoum, famous for being where the Blue and White Nile rivers meet to form the big Nile. We had meetings with our client at their headquarters before and after the trip to Ad-Damazin.

Our challenge: rehabilitation and uprating the hydropower plant

Apart of proposing measures to extend its operational condition by simply refurbishing and/or replacing equipment, rehabilitation studies are a chance to introduce design modifications and new concepts. These are targeted on improving the easiness and reliability of operation and optimizing the power production. In the case of Roseires, this approach has been applied. In addition, the plant will have a new reservoir operation regime. This was enabled by the construction of the upstream located Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERD) in Ethiopia and an increase of the dam height by 10 m in 2012. As a consequence, the opportunity was created to uprate the plant from 280 MW to 442 MW, even more expanding the design possibilities and bringing new challenges.

Roseires Hydropower Plant - Power House

The feasibility study for the project had already been made. It comprised information about the various electrical equipment and systems in a good extension including proposals for the rehabilitation and uprating. Nonetheless, during the visit we performed a more in-depth investigation to get an understanding about some specific topics for the next steps of the engineering studies. Among these were the layout of equipment within the plant and the interface with the transmission system: The mentioned uprate requires the installation of some larger and heavier components (e.g. hydro generators and main transformers) and more evacuation of power.

Achieving our objective

The visit quite contributed to bringing new ideas to the electrical conceptual design, with the later elaboration of additional proposals. As a Consulting Firm, this is exactly the kind of outcome we strive to achieve: Subsiding clients with the best background for decision making.

Roseires - Electrical Equipment

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