This paper discusses the common environmental issues and requirements project lenders have when financing hydropower dam projects in developing countries. The environmental specialist’s role, as part of the Lender’s Technical Advisor team, is discussed throughout the main phases of project finance (credit approval, financial close, lending/construction and loan repayment/operation). Further, how environmental issues are reviewed and monitored, thereby minimising reputational risks to the lenders are outlined.
Lenders typically consider hydropower dam financing, especially reservoir schemes, as high reputational risk loans. Finance is usually syndicated and although most international lenders are Equator Principles signatories or use the International Financing Corporations (IFC) Performance Standards, some lenders have additional environmental guidelines and requirements to enable financing. These differences are discussed.
Common environmental concerns include loss of habitat of endangered and/or threatened species, changes to river flows, erosion and sediment control during construction, and the minimisation and disposal of project wastes.
These issues are discussed drawing on the author’s experience in monitoring environmental issues of hydropower projects in Asia Pacific and Africa, including both smaller run-of-river schemes and larger storage reservoir projects.
Keywords: Environment, impacts, project financing, concerns, lenders, lenders technical advisor.
Russell Cuerel, Richard Priman, Michel Raymond, Ian Hanks
Following significant flood events across Queensland over the last five years causing significant damage in South East Queensland, Bundaberg Burnett region, St. George in the south west and more recently in Central Queensland in the Callide Valley, there has been renewed interest in finding solutions to flooding issues.
Increasing the available flood storage within a catchment is a well-known method of improving flood mitigation outcomes for developed areas. In many basins/catchments, potential flood storage development options (new storages or augmentations to existing storages) can be identified by reviewing previous water supply investigations and flood studies and by scanning topographic mapping. From such site identification there will often be numerous combinations of possible flood storage development options to consider because of the number of tributaries which may contribute to major flood events.
This paper outlines a methodology to screen, within a relatively short timeframe and at relatively low cost, a large number of identified flood storage development options and combination development scenarios and shortlist for more detailed analysis. The screening process is heavily reliant on hydrologic assessments to rapidly short-list scenarios for assessment and then relies on traditional engineering and economic assessments to do the fine tuning of the analysis.
Keywords: flooding, damages, impacts, flood storage, flood mitigation, dams, benefit-cost ratio.
Paul Somerville, Andreas Skarlatoudis, and Hong Kie Thio
Engineers need ground motion time histories for the analysis of the response of structures to earthquake ground shaking. In current practice, these time histories are usually spectrally matched to a uniform hazard response spectrum. At low probabilities, this spectrum is too “broadband” (i.e. large over an unrealistically broad range of periods), and envelopes a set of more appropriate design response spectra, termed conditional mean spectra. These concepts are illustrated using a site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analysis of ground shaking in which ground motion time histories are spectrally matched to conditional mean spectra that were derived from the uniform hazard spectrum.
Keywords: Ground motion time histories, Conditional mean spectrum.
Chris Topham, Andrew Pattle, David Tanner, Oliver Giudici
Many owners around the world have dams that rely on grouted, post-tensioned rock anchors for stability. The anchors were installed during the original construction of the dams or retrofitted to improve stability during their operational life. The use of fully grouted post-tensioned anchors spanned the period of the 1960’s to 1980’s. The main issue with these un-sheathed grouted rock anchors is the question of integrity of the grout column protecting the anchor and concerns about possible corrosion of the high tensile wires from which the cables are constructed. While some of these anchors have corrosion monitoring systems installed, it is difficult to validate such data and there is considerable uncertainty over the condition of such anchors. To compound the problem, replacement of the anchors is technically complex, extremely costly and difficult to justify in the absence of known condition. For example, Hydro Tasmania has recent experience of work to cease reliance on such anchors at Catagunya Dam that cost $41m in 2009. With fifteen dams relying on some form of post-tensioned anchors, Hydro Tasmania has recently taken the unusual step of over-coring and extracting three post-tensioned rock anchors from operating dams in order to assess their condition. In what is believed to be a world first, a 42m long 70 strand high tensile anchor was overcored and removed from Meadowbank Dam in 2014. A further two anchors were successfully extracted from Repulse Dam in 2015, in conjunction with a group of international sponsors with similar anchors. This paper uses the 2015 work to illustrate the methodology used to extract the anchors, outlines the information gained from this unusual work, and presents the results of the condition of the extracted anchors. The paper concludes with some inferences for other owners with similar anchors and suggestions for further work.
Keywords: Grouted, post-tensioned rock anchor, ground anchor, corrosion, over-coring, extraction, dam safety.
Nihal Vitharana, Nuno Ferreira
The raising and/or stabilising of existing concrete gravity dams by continuous concrete buttressing is a viable solution and, in some cases, it is the only solution available. There are few medium-large dams in Australia currently under consideration for raising with continuous buttressing.
Two of the major issues to be surmounted are: (a) the existing dam should not be subjected to cracking (particularly on the upstream face) due to heat-hydration effects, and (b) the requirement for the two dam bodies to resist the hydrostatic and other loadings as a monolith (unified dam).
However, there is great need for understanding the mechanisms involved in selecting an appropriate heat-of-hydration model and in calculating thermal stresses rationally. Due to such lack of understanding, expensive precautions, mostly with compounding conservatisms, would be adopted in concept and detailed designs eg. shear-keys on the interface, artificial cooling, post-grouted interface, anchor bars at the interface, concrete with high cement contents. On the other hand, unsafe designs could be the result.
The paper discusses these issues highlighting that a rational approach can be adopted to economise the design and construction processes. An example is also presented to demonstrate how the potential for temperature-induced cracking in new and old dam bodies can be evaluated with reduced uncertainty by considering all the mechanisms involved in a holistic way.
Keywords: Heat-of-Hydration modelling, raising concrete dams, thermal stresses, concrete buttressing