Hidroelectrica said it inaugurated Surduc–Nehoiașu, its latest headrace gallery, at the Pruncea intake point at Bâsca Mare, following a EUR 150 million investment. The tunnel is part of the Surduc–Siriu hydropower planning, the Romania Journal reported on its website.
The project is the longest of its kind to be implemented since 1984, being also the government-controlled company’s biggest investment after 1990. It leads water to from the Surduc accumulation to hydroelectric plant Nehoiașu. It takes in various tributaries and it will mean another 171.8 GWh of power a year, said Remus Borza, the unsolvent company’s administrator.
He explained that the water goes from a reservoir of 282,000 cubic metres to a location of a future 55 MW aggregate, scheduled to launch in 2017. Two more generators of 21 MW each will be added subsequently, Borza said, according to a report by Agerpres.
The tunnel has a length of 16.6 kilometres, a flow of 40 square metres per second and an inner diameter of four meters, with a 30-35 centimetres thick concrete lining. Construction was organized at eight points at Bâsca Mare, Titilau, Pruncea, Trestia and Castel. Surduc–Siriu hydropower project is carried out in the counties of Buzău, Vrancea, Covasna, and on Buzău, Bâsca Mare, Bâsca Mică and Zabala rivers and was started in 1981.
The underground gallery’s last section of Trestia–Castel is still being dug, with the aim to cover the entire length of 16.6 kilometres through the mountain range of Buzău. The gallery, longest one to be dug for energy purposes at its 2,540 metres, will have the highest waterfall level among Hidroelectrica’s investments – 490 metres. It will ensure Nehoiașu plant the highest energy production capacity in the company’s portfolio.
The hydropower plant’s generator has installed power of 55 MW and an estimated electricity production capacity of 171.8 GWh during an average hydrological year. Nehoiașu 1 has been operational since 1988 as part of the Surduc–Siriu hydro project, having two generators with a total installed capacity of 42 MW and an average production of 120.6 GWh per year.
The hydropower investment in Siriu-Surduc is part of the company’s investment plan for 2015-2020, Hidroelectrica having a budget of over EUR 1.3 billion allocated for refurbishment, maintenance and development works.