Challenge

Efforts to address climate change have spurred heavy investment in renewable energy all around the world. At the same time, developing nations are searching for new sources of electricity and better ways of managing their freshwater resources to meet the needs of their growing populations; while in more developed regions, operators are trying to optimize the value of their existing assets while ensuring that reliability and safety is maintained.

Advances in technology and digitalization are opening a new era of possibilities and opportunities. Small hydro is becoming more cost-effective. Repowering and refurbishing existing facilities is more feasible, new and large projects are now more plausible, and hydroelectric energy storage is leading to increased grid reliability.

With so much riding on finding new sources of clean, affordable electric power, we must push harder to develop innovative approaches and cost-effective solutions. The world’s future may very well depend on overcoming these challenges and harnessing these valuable resources. With expertise that spans across the full hydroelectric value chain, we can help!

Capabilities

Greenfield hydroelectric developments

With much of the world’s technical hydropower opportunities not yet developed, there's an abundance of hydropower sources available to be harnessed for power generation. This untapped resource will be critical for meeting baseload dispatchable electricity requirements. When existing infrastructure is not an option, we partner with you to build solutions that ignite your vision. Many factors contribute to making a new hydroelectric project successful: financing, selection and design of the best sites, permits, safety standards, and risk management. All these things must be considered, even as you determine the optimal installed capacity and limit operating and capital costs. We work with hydropower developers and operators in both the private and public sectors, providing full engineering design, procurement, and construction management services to minimize project risks and maximize profitability.

Life extension: redeveloping and rehabilitating

As hydropower facilities age, owners and operators work to extend their assets' lives and optimize the value of their investment. From performance optimization, program maturity assessments and roadmaps, asset condition assessment campaigns, asset health evaluation, and risk-based data-driven investment planning, we partner with you to develop the best plan forward. The knowledge and experience of our experts is wide ranging and cover all types of upgrades and refurbishments including automation, protection, and controls. We conduct condition audits and provide full life-extension and enhancement services. Tools like Grow 3D, 7D digital twin, and proprietary software, such as Hatch's HydroVantageTM and VistaDSSTM, can help identify risks to minimize and capital expenditures to prioritize. When life extension is not an option, we work with our clients to responsibly and safely decommission them.

Repowering and equipment upgrades

Risks and costs must always be weighed against the benefits of upgrading or replacing capital equipment. We've pioneered tools and techniques to measure the efficiency of turbines so you can determine the best plan for your operation. Aging facilities face increased costs making investment decisions and outcomes more uncertain. Our experts can aid in decision-making and provide practical cost-effective solutions to maximize or extend the life of existing assets. If you are seeking to maximize the hydroelectric potential of existing sites, we can help perform a condition assessment and audits, provide recommendations, and engage in a wide range of engineering and EPCM services for both new or life extension projects.

Gates and penstocks

The importance of your gate equipment and penstocks can not be overstated. Many of these pressure-retaining structures have aged to the point that both their reliability and structural integrity have been compromised. Hatch’s wealth of expertise in the design, assessment, refurbishment, and replacement of gates and penstocks applies to all types, sizes, and geographical locations. We understand the unique characteristics of each site and the challenges associated with lost energy, dewatering, capital costs, and access.

Dam safety

Globally, dam owners must make difficult decisions to maintain aging assets. They must balance the need to ensure that their dams are operated and maintained safely against increasingly limited financial and human resources. Under these circumstances, it is imperative that a dam owner make well-informed choices in how to best invest their finances and provide the most benefit for their investment. Hatch is at the forefront of dam safety in Canada and across the world, by working with concerned clients and regulators to form a better understanding of the issues and to develop dam safety guidelines and best practices that protect our clients and the public. We have been closely involved in the development of the Canadian Dam Association guidelines, several provincial and federal guidelines in Canada, as well as developing dam safety guidelines in several other countries. We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to assist them with these critical decisions and providing key technical advice and guidance to meet dam safety principals, as well as legislative compliance.

Public safety around dams

In the last decade, there have been significant developments in best practices when considering public safety management around dam structures. Particularly, the Canadian Dam Association (guidelines for public safety around dams) which was published as draft in 2007 and finalized in 2011. Hatch has been at the forefront of these developments participating in the CDA, the United States Society on Dams (USSD), Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), and International Committee on Large Dams (ICOLD) working groups on public safety around dams. As a result of our experience, we are fully conversant with the philosophies and principles expressed in the industry guidelines, thereby ensuring that public safety assessment work is performed efficiently and to an appropriate standard. We provide services from performing site assessments and risk assessments, developing public safety management plans for individual programs, to developing full portfolio public safety programs and guidance documents. We’re at the forefront of public safety control measures, in particular the design of multifunction public safety, debris, and ice booms.

Pumped storage hydro

With the recent surge in non-dispatchable renewable generation, pump storage hydro offers tangible benefits to an electrical grid. It can store the renewable energy until it is required and provide the regulation and auxiliary services required for grid stability. These facilities act like massive batteries and can be either completely isolated from natural waterways and operate as a closed system, or can be partly or fully located on rivers, streams, and lakes and function as a combination of energy storage and conventional hydro power generation. Engineering of a pumped storage project leverages the same expertise as required for conventional, high head hydropower developments, and often involves tunneling and large underground powerhouse complexes. Our extensive experience allows us to accommodate in-situ stresses, provide equipment knowledge, and deliver innovative construction methods, as well as hydraulic modeling with the most advanced digital project delivery tools to deliver modern and cost-effective pumped storage hydro projects.

Small or run-of-river hydro

Developing or rehabilitating small run-of river hydroelectric projects requires the same technical expertise as large hydro, however it often requires additional creativity, ingenuity, and “out of the box” thinking. New small, run-of-river hydro developments are particularly sensitive to costs and achieving the economic hurdle requires a focus on the fundamentals while incorporating innovation. This includes utilizing modular powerhouses, off-site installation of balance of plant components, smaller powerhouse construction without the use of cranes, and simplified dam and spillway arrangements. The rehabilitation of small hydro comes with a set of unique challenges as you seek to construct within the confines of an old or heritage structure. Addressing and navigating the challenges of the building modifications, permit applications, cofferdams, fire protection, and modern life safety guidelines while staying on focus with economic development requires an experienced team. Our team has the experience and knowledge to develop solutions that are customized for your site, whether it is a greenfield development, rehabilitation, or retrofit.

Independent Engineering

Independent engineering is the collective term provided to engineering services that are undertaken to support a financial transaction, acquisition, or to provide independent advisory services to a lender during a loan period. Hatch’s deep experience with design, development, construction, operational support, and equipment knowledge of hydro facilities is leveraged to provide our clients with objective opinions for the various aspects of the project. These assessments typically include design reviews, review of construction and equipment supply contracts, energy generation modeling, schedule, cost and cashflow monitoring and forecasting, construction site inspections, review of environmental and regulatory requirements, and review of the financial models developed for the project. The scopes are always customized to complement our client’s needs and tailored to mitigate project risks.

Digital assets and digital twins

Digital information management brings value across the entire life cycle of an asset. From engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, handover, and eventually, operations and maintenance. As the project progresses through engineering to handover, a complete digital asset is developed with the quality and maturity of the data continually improving. As the digital asset matures during delivery and into operations, it is progressively handed over until a complete digital representation of the asset is created, a digital twin. The digital twin can drive further operational value through connections to sensor networks and operational/asset management systems and can be employed to generate simulation, analytical, and optimization capabilities providing easy access to trusted data and improved decision-making throughout the asset’s life cycle. By focusing on engineered information management and the integration of engineered information into the operation of plants and facilities, Hatch provides consultation and support services to help owners and operators maintain and re-use engineered information throughout the plant life cycle.

Performance testing

Accurate information as it pertains to the performance characteristics of your generating equipment is critical to the operation and management of these valuable assets. Hatch’s capabilities in turbine field performance testing include absolute efficiency testing using several different methods of flow measurement (dye dilution, acoustic, pressure time, intake current meter, etc). Additionally, we can undertake index testing and load rejection testing to ensure that your equipment is properly tuned, and its performance data is available to the operators, maintenance personnel and decision-makers.

Alkali-aggregate reaction (AAR)

A proactive approach to dealing with the effects of concrete expansion due to AAR provides confidence to safety operate affected dams and powerhouses. Our practical long-term experience combined with efficient numerical tools like GROW3D provide a perfect combination to deal with AAR-affected structures. We have developed unique methods to address AAR-induced deformations which affect overall dam safety, gate operation issues and turbine/generator clearances, etc.

Operational support studies

Operating a waterpower facility at optimum capacity is a delicate balance. We work alongside owners and operators, managing safety, equipment reliability, and output. Our Vista decision support software helps you derive the most value from your generating assets with superior forecasting, planning, scheduling, and dispatching.

Regulatory support, permitting, and approvals

We go where our clients are, and where we're needed. That's all over the world. We're familiar with a host of different regulatory requirements and can help you navigate the often-difficult laws, regulations, and permitting processes in almost any jurisdiction. Development of an effective regulatory strategy can avoid costly project delays. Hatch’s environmental professionals bring together scientific expertise and strategic advice based on our thorough understanding of regulatory requirements and legal precedents to increase certainty in project costs and schedule. Our global regulatory team has broad experience in environmental and social impact assessment, as well as permitting which includes environmental study execution, Indigenous engagement, and other stakeholder consultation. In the U.S., our regulatory staff has decades of experience in negotiating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing and relicensing processes for small and large projects, including pumped storage, for both new and existing projects. This involves stakeholder consultations, environmental study scoping and execution, preparation of licensing documents, and supporting owners during FERC’s review of the license application that includes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

Blogs

David Anders

Energy optimization: a prerequisite for a low-carbon future — Part 1

David Anders
The need to decarbonize the economy and adapt to a changing energy landscape is a key challenge for large energy users. New technologies are providing increasingly cost-effective solutions to mitigate the impact of carbon and optimizing energy use has the potential to generate a positive return on investment in the near term while simultaneously working towards a low-carbon future. David Anders starts us off with part one of our energy optimization blog series.
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