A hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) is a power plant that converts the energy of flowing water to electricity. The water flowing in a large river contains a huge amount of energy. The energy of the flowing water or the falling water is used to generate electricity.
The main process in hydropower is to convey the water behind the dam, from a certain height, to the turbines located at a lower elevation. The water hits the turbine blades with high velocity and great force, rotating the turbine runner. This in turn rotates the generator and electricity is produced. After its energy is used, the water is released through the tailrace back to the river bed, without any processing. Therefore, no water is lost; no water pollution occurs either.
Kalehan Energy companies were awarded licenses by the Energy Market Regulatory Authority for 3 projects in the region. The projects are located in the provinces of Elazığ, Bingöl and Muş and will all be built on the Murat River. These projects, from the most upstream to the downstream, are;
- Yukarı (Upper) Kaleköy Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant (626,85 MWe): located in Bingöl Province, Solhan District (dam site, reservoir), and Muş Province, Central District (reservoir);
- Aşağı (Lower) Kaleköy Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant (500,00 MWe): located in Bingöl Province, Central District (dam site, reservoir), Genç and Solhan districts (reservoir); and
- Beyhan 1 Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant (582,10 MWe): located in Elazığ Province, Palu District (dam site, reservoir), and Bingöl Province, Genç District (reservoir).
Hydroelectric power plants can be classified in two main groups according to their storage capabilities; HEPPs with storage (dam and reservoir) and run-of river HEPPs without storage (diversion weir). Run-of-river schemes produce energy using only the force exerted by flowing water. In this type of HEPP, the height of the structure that diverts the river water to the turbines is not as tall as that in a “dam and reservoir” scheme and is usually referred to as a “diversion weir” instead of a “dam”. A small lake forms behind the diversion weir, which provides a small amount of storage or no storage at all. Therefore, the amount of energy generated by run-of-river HEPPs varies annually and seasonally.
In a storage scheme HEPP, water is stored behind a tall dam and energy is produced using the force exerted by the water as it falls from a great height. The water stored during rainy seasons is used for energy production during dry seasons. In multi-purpose schemes, the stored water is also used for irrigation or drinking water supply. Dam height determines the amount of force exerted by the falling water and therefore the amount of energy produced; whereas reservoir volume determines how much annual energy production will be affected by seasonal fluctuations in river flow.
Yukarı (Upper) Kaleköy, Aşağı (Lower) Kaleköy and Beyhan‑1 projects are storage schemes.
Hydroelectric power plants are not planned or designed considering only one project at a time. Rather, existing and planned developments in the upstream and downstream of any given project are considered in a cumulative analysis. The objective is to utilize the available flow and head in the whole river basin in the most efficient way at an acceptable cost.
The planning studies for the section between Alparslan-II Dam and Keban Dam, where Kalehan Energy’s projects are located, were initiated in the 1980’s by the General Directorate of Electrical Power Resources Survey and Development Administration (EİE). The findings from these studies were published as the “Revised Report on the Reconnaissance Survey of the Energy Potential between 850-1240m Elevations in the Murat Branch of the Euphrates” (“EİE Report”) in 1989.
These initial surveys were followed by Master Planning studies carried out with the objective of maximizing energy generation while minimizing affected agricultural lands. As a result, 3 projects were developed with 1,708.95 MWe total installed capacity and 4 billion 762 million kilowatt‑hours total annual production. Detailed analyses of dam location and height alternatives were carried out not only on a project basis but also cumulatively as a whole, utilizing the hydroelectric potential as fully as possible. Thus, the formulation that provides the highest contribution to national economy was selected. During this selection process, all related authorities, notably the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ) and the Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK), were informed and their approvals were obtained.
As dam height increases, costs of construction and land acquisition as well as the amount of energy produced also increase: below a certain height, the benefit-cost ratio decreases and the project becomes unfeasible. Both tall dams and smaller dams are planned at different locations along a river in such a way that the total reservoir area is minimum. Thus, lands and settlements to be inundated are minimized while energy production is maximized by utilizing the available head as fully as possible. In other words, the optimal dam height is determined considering technical, financial, environmental and social factors together and also the existing and planned projects in the upstream and the downstream.
The total annual energy produced by Kalehan Energy’s projects constitutes 1.6% of Turkey’s annual electricity production and 7.3% of hydroelectric power generation in Turkey.
This corresponds to the amount of electrical energy consumed by 1.4 million people in a year. In other words, the combined annual energy demand of the provinces of Elazığ, Bingöl and Muş can be met.
Electrical energy is supplied from 3 main sources:
- Hydroelectric, such as HEPPs with storage and run-of-river HEPPs;
- Other renewables, such as wind and solar;
- Thermal, such as coal and natural gas.
Flue gases from thermal power plants utilizing resources such as coal and natural gas may lead to long-lasting damage to agricultural products, wildlife, water resources and forests, and also cause climate change. Besides, radon present in fly ash from thermal power plants may cause an increase in incidence of cancer. Utilizing an expensive energy source for which we are dependent on foreign production, such as natural gas, to generate electricity will not only increase energy costs but also our foreign dependency.
Energy production using renewable resources such as wind and solar energy depends on and therefore varies by natural conditions. Solar radiation is lower and weather can be cloudier in winter as compared to summer; energy demand, however, is high in winter. Furthermore, solar energy cannot be generated during the night. Wind turbines cannot be operated when the wind speed is too low or too high and their efficiency is around 30%. Therefore, solar and wind plants cannot meet on their own the overall annual energy demand in a region.
On the other hand, the average elevation is 1200m in Turkey and river gradients are also high. This topographic structure and hydrological conditions in Turkey provide advantages in hydroelectric energy production. Energy production cost is low in hydroelectric power plants and the energy source is both domestic and renewable. Hydroelectric power is more environmentally-friendly than other alternatives and capable of adjusting to changing energy demands.
Energy demand fluctuates throughout the day. In addition to the base load electricity that is required continuously, for 24 hours, during the day, more power is needed for lighting in the evening than in day-time. This is called peak load or peak demand. Peak load is also observed at noon hours in summer, owing to the increase in the use of air conditioners. Solar power plants cannot generate electricity at the time of evening peak loads because the sun sets. When wind of appropriate speed is not available at the required hours, wind power plants cannot supply peak energy demand either. The efficiency of thermal power plants decrease considerably when their units are started-up and shut down in the same day, and therefore they have a significant disadvantage when used as peaking plants.
Different from all other types of power plants, HEPPs with storage (reservoir) can supply a continuous load, and at the same time, provide for fluctuating energy demands during the day, without experiencing significant reduction in their efficiency. By operating a given number of units continuously and other units only during specific hours, HEPPs with storage can supply both base load and peak load energy demands.
Furthermore, like in Kalehan Energy’s projects, dam and HEPPs with storage (reservoir) provide flood control and can be used to supply irrigation and drinking water in addition to generating energy.
In developed and developing countries such as the USA, Canada, China, Japan, Russia and Norway, hydropower contributes significantly to their domestic energy generation. The contribution of hydropower in Turkey is 24% while it is 96% in Norway. China, one of the largest actors shaping global economy, contributes 28% to the world’s hydroelectricity production; Turkey’s share is just 2%.
Construction of new HEPPs continues at developed and developing countries alike. The total installed hydropower capacity worldwide is projected to reach almost double of current levels by 2050, for the goal of reducing annual CO2 emissions that cause climate change to half of 2009 levels.
Moreover, in countries like Germany and the UK, reserve energy generation capacity is available for maintaining sustainability. In such countries, reserve capacity can be used in case of a power shortage. However, there is energy deficit in Turkey and therefore it is not possible to set aside any reserve energy capacity.
The national grid provides electricity to the region. The energy produced by Kalehan Energy’s HEPPs will be delivered to the national grid. Thus, the customers in the region will be able to use the energy produced by Kalehan Energy, though indirectly.
The economic life of hydroelectric power plants can be 50 years or longer. Their economic life can be extended up to 100 years by renewal of mechanical equipment and rehabilitation.
The Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK) grants generation licences for 49 years. Kalehan Energy will operate its HEPPs during this period.
ENVIRONMENTAL and SOCIAL ASPECTS
EIA stands for “Environmental Impact Assessment”. EIA is a process that encompasses all of the studies carried out for the identification, assessment, monitoring and control of potential beneficial and adverse impacts of a proposed project on the physical, biological and socio-economic environment. In this process, measures to avoid adverse impacts or reduce them to insignificant or negligible levels are identified and assessed together with site selection and technology alternatives, and requirements are defined for monitoring and control of project implementation.
Many people mistakenly think that the authority to grant permission for a development is the company which prepares the EIA Report. EIA Reports are prepared by competent companies that are certified (accredited) by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change. The EIA report prepared by a certified company is submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change for evaluation. The assessments in the report are reviewed by the Ministry, and if it is concluded that the adverse impacts of the project can be mitigated to acceptable levels defined in related legislation or based on scientific principles, the Ministry grants consent for the project. This consent is called an “EIA Positive Decision”.
In the beginning of the EIA process, an official Public Participation Meeting is held at the settlement(s) closest to the project area to ensure that the opinions and suggestions by the public are taken into consideration in the EIA studies. In addition to the Ministry’s review, opinions and suggestions by the public on the EIA report is also taken into account throughout the EIA process. At the final stage of the EIA process when the EIA report has taken its final form, the EIA report is disclosed for public review for another 10 days. Additional opinions and suggestions received in this period are also taken into consideration, and, if found reasonable, incorporated in the final EIA report.
After its energy is used in a hydroelectric power plant, the water is released back to the riverbed via the tailwater channel without any processing. Thus, water loss, decrease in water levels or water pollution does not occur. Since no other activity is carried out, hydroelectric power plants do not generate flue gas, industrial wastewater or hazardous waste.
Domestic waste (wastewater, solid waste) from water use by the personnel and industrial waste (such as waste oils) from maintenance works are generated, however. These wastes are disposed of as required by the related legislation. All of these procedures and mitigation measures are presented together with relevant commitments in the EIA Report.
Noise from a hydroelectric power plant is approximately 60 dB (normal speech level) at 100 m from the turbines. The powerhouse has been insulated to reduce environmental noise emissions during the operation phase and to prevent disturbance of nearby settlements due to noise.
After its energy is used in a hydroelectric power plant, the water is released back to the riverbed via the tailwater channel without any processing. Thus, water loss, decrease in water levels or water pollution does not occur. Hydroelectric power plants do not adversely affect air, water or soil quality because they do not generate any flue gas, industrial wastewater or hazardous waste.
The minimum amount of water released from a dam so that there will not be significant adverse impacts on downstream ecosystem sustainability is called the environmental flow. The environmental flow is determined based on scientific principles as part of the EIA studies. The related authorities review these studies, their approval is obtained in the EIA process and a commitment is made in the EIA report for releasing the approved minimum flow. The environmental flow will be monitored continuously during the operation phase to ensure that this commitment is fulfilled.
It is known that building fish passes at dams taller than 30 meters is not functional and that fish passes built on such high structures are unable to serve their purposes. Alternative solutions such as trapping and trucking of the fish are employed in North American and European countries when it is not functional to build and operate fish passes. Such alternative measures will be needed in our projects; namely Yukarı (Upper) Kaleköy, Aşağı (Lower) Kaleköy and Beyhan-1 projects which are all HEPP with storage schemes. In these projects, the trap-and-truck alternative is being evaluated; the studies on alternatives to fish passes will be carried out in accordance with the official opinions of the related authorities.
A comprehensive monitoring program is being developed to investigate the efficiency of all measures directed at mitigating impacts on fish in our projects.
Hydroelectric power plants do not adversely affect soils or agriculture because they do not generate any flue gas, industrial wastewater or hazardous waste. On the contrary, multi-purpose dams may supply irrigation water and thus allow for irrigated agricultural practices and provide an opportunity to increase crop yields.
The irrigation water for DSİ’s Genç Irrigation Project will be supplied from the Aşağı (Lower) Kaleköy Dam and HEPP Project, one of the projects of Kalehan Energy. Thus, irrigated agriculture and greenhouse cultivation will be possible in this region.
Technical, financial, environmental and social factors are considered together to minimize the amount of land to be affected in the planning of hydroelectric power plant projects and in determining the optimum formulation. Hence, HEPP projects are developed in such a way that also minimizes the amount of forest lands to be inundated.
No trees were cut down in areas other than those required for construction activities in our projects. Due consideration was given for minimizing the number of trees to be cut in site selection of our construction camps.
Afforestation fee is paid to the General Directorate of Forestry, as required by the related legislation, for the forest areas to be inundated due to the project and also for the forest areas within the footprint of dam structures, powerhouse, switchyard, construction camp and other areas used in the construction phase. This fee is used to plant trees by the General Directorate of Forestry in areas determined by the said authority, in substitution of the affected trees. Thus, resource and opportunity are provided for the compensation of forest areas affected by the projects.
Utmost care was taken to avoid areas and structures of cultural and historical importance in planning and design phases of our projects as is the case in all hydroelectric developments. Culturally and historically important sites were also evaluated as part of the studies in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process managed by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change. The interaction of culturally and historically important structures with the project was assessed in detail in the EIA process. In addition to this, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism oversees project activities in all phases of our projects.
Power plants are constructed and operated to international standards. All equipment used in the power plants will have quality certificates to international norms. An integrated Health, Safety, Environment and Social Management System will be established at the plants in accordance with ISO 14001 Environmental Management System and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System standards.
TECHNOLOGY and STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE DAMS
Dams are designed and constructed taking into account all factors that may affect their structural integrity, including earthquakes and floods. In addition to this, the structural integrity of dams is continuously monitored via a series of measuring instruments placed during construction at locations determined in the design phase. This enables instantaneous identification of malfunctions and similar situations. Malfunctions can thus be repaired in the shortest possible time and other required measures can be taken in a timely manner.
All of our projects have been designed and constructed to withstand large earthquakes, taking into account the seismic risks in the region. Our projects were and are being supervised by the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ) in all phases including design, construction and operation.
Controlled release of flood flows is an integral part in the design of dams to prevent damage to their structural integrity. Maximum flood flows, determined by the analysis of long term data, are released through structures called spillways and bottom outlets. The water level behind a dam is continuously measured and these structures are automatically activated when needed.
Furthermore, a water level and flow measurement system has been established to monitor sudden and/or extreme flows that might pose a risk for the settlements downstream from the dam, and signs are placed to warn the residents. The data collected is used also to inform State Hydraulic Works (DSİ).
Emergency Action Plans are developed for all of our projects for preparedness in case of accidents, major malfunction or catastrophic events such as natural disasters. These emergency action plans will be implemented in case of a dam failure. Dam failure, however, is considered unlikely since dams are continuously monitored by measuring instruments.
Internationally accepted techniques and technologies were and are being used in both construction and operation phases of our projects. Hydro-mechanical and electromechanical equipment meeting North American (ASME) and European (DIN) standards were supplied.
LAND ACQUISITION, EXPROPRIATION AND RESETTLEMENT
Kalehan Energy will first seek to reach mutual agreement with the owners of private lands and prefer voluntary acquisition of privately owned lands in all of its hydroelectric power plant projects. Purchase prices will be the same for lands with the same characteristics, and the principle of transparency will be adhered to.
Privately owned lands will be expropriated in accordance with the Expropriation Law (No: 2942) and the Electricity Market Law (No: 6446) if mutual agreement cannot be reached with the owners. Expropriation operations will be carried out by the Ministry of Finance, according to the Expropriation Decision to be issued by the Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK) in lieu of the “Public Interest Decision”. Expropriated lands will be registered under the name of the Treasury.
Value of the lands will be determined in a “Land Valuation Report” prepared by an expert, independent company. The land values determined in this report will not be the final values but will rather serve to establish precedent values for lands with the same characteristics. All agreements will be made within the knowledge of all land owners, and based on the principle of transparency.
The EIA process must be concluded affirmatively for a project before land purchases can begin. Studies for voluntary acquisition and contacts with land owners were started only after the EIA consent was granted.
In general, land acquisition was carried out in two phases. Lands at the dam site and other project structures and the lands required for construction works were acquired in the first phase. Acquisition of the lands within the reservoir area were planned in such a way that acquisition is completed before the impoundment date.
Resettlement applications by rights holders will begin after the related authority (Provincial Directorates of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change) completes its survey studies and makes a public announcement as stipulated in the Resettlement Law (No: 5543). The announcement is displayed for thirty (30) days at public places such as schools, municipalities, offices of muhtars (village headmen), mosques and coffee houses in the neighbourhoods and villages. Meetings are held in the related settlements, as required, for the households that are to lose their livelihood means due to expropriation to inform them about resettlement procedures and conditions.
Those that are entitled to resettlement are the households. Each family is considered as a separate rights holder when more than one family, such as married children, live in the same house.
Specific criteria must be met to be considered as a rights holder. One important condition is to apply for resettlement within the application period. Another important criterion is related to the households who do not have any land or property: these households must have settled in the expropriation area at least three years before the beginning of the calendar year the resettlement planning surveys are initiated.
EMPLOYMENT and CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL ECONOMY
On the average, 1000 to 1500 personnel are employed in the construction phase of a dam and hydroelectric power plant project; this average number of workers was reached during the construction phases of our projects. With the commencement of operations, about 50 to 100 personnel are working at each of our power plants, as foreseen during the planning phase.
The provinces of Elazığ, Bingöl and Muş have been and will be preferred for recruitment of personnel including technical teams; priority have been and will be given to villages and districts closest to the plant sites. Persons who used to live in the region but have settled in other cities are also given priority. Training may be provided if adequate numbers are reached. Local employment will be maximized to the extent possible in all facilities.
However, personnel may have to be recruited from other regions for jobs requiring specialization. Personnel employment is carried out in accordance with the Labour Law (No: 4857).
Headquarters of Kalehan Energy companies are in Ankara in accordance with the legislation. There is a certain share of the taxes paid that are transferred to the municipalities.
The provinces of Elazığ, Bingöl and Muş have been and will be preferred for recruitment of personnel, giving priority to villages and districts closest to the plant sites. In addition to this, food and other basic needs of the personnel have been and will be supplied from local businesses in both construction and operation phases.
Technical and commercial visits will be made to the region because of planned investments; it is foreseen that this will attract new investments to meet the demand. These visits will also contribute to the region to become more widely-known. In addition to this, it will be possible to establish recreational areas in the vicinity of the reservoirs. This will provide an opportunity to promote not only domestic but also international tourism.
Furthermore, the dams to be built will regulate river flows and enable timely provision of sufficient amounts of irrigation water to agricultural areas. The irrigation water for DSİ’s Genç Irrigation Project will be supplied from the Aşağı (Lower) Kaleköy Dam and HEPP Project, one of the projects of Kalehan Energy. Thus, irrigated agriculture and greenhouse cultivation will be possible in this region. Besides, fisheries can be developed by introducing fish in the reservoirs if approved by the related authorities.
PUBLIC RELATIONS and GRIEVANCE MECHANISM
Kalehan Energy considers it important that the public and other stakeholders participate in all phases of its projects including the environmental and social impact assessment process.
To ensure the participation of all stakeholders to the project(s), a communications and grievance mechanism has been put in place to disclose information on the projects, to receive opinions, questions and suggestions about the projects, and to resolve grievances.
Opinions and suggestions will be recorded, and grievances evaluated and closed by the central office of Kalehan Energy.
You can submit your suggestions and comments regarding the projects by sending an e‑mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most recent information regarding the projects can be found at www.kalehan.com.tr.
Utmost care is taken for collaborating with national and international, and even local NGOs, in developing and implementing projects directed at local needs, along with realizing our projects and operating our plants. Such collaborations could be in the areas of bee-keeping, animal husbandry, fisheries, green-house cultivation, eco-tourism, vocational training courses and small-scale infrastructure projects.