Converting Dam: from Water Supply to Hydropower Generation


Heng Hock Hwee, Hii Ching Poon, Siaw Fei Lu, Pan Wang Fook
SMHB Sdn Bhd, Independent Consultant
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, SEGi University

Journal of Engineering & Technological Advances
Vol. 2, Issue 1, pp. 37-56 (2017)

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This study investigates the feasibility of converting four (4) existing single purpose water supply reservoir schemes into conjunctive hydropower operation that could supply raw waters to respective water treatment plants and at the same time, generate power. These dams with proper retrofitting exercises could be a potential hydropower cum direct water supply reservoir operation. The change in operation does not only berth well with current trend of dual or multipurpose functions of the reservoir scheme but also in light of emerging role of hydropower as a mature and steady source of renewable energy. These dams were assessed for retrofitting with turbine to generate hydroelectricity and at the same time, to supply raw water to both water supply schemes. Despite the advantages of this dual function of the existing reservoirs schemes, this study however concludes infeasible tasks as only less than 1 MW of firm power can be harnessed. To reconfigure these existing infrastructures for purpose other than for the single purpose of water supply requires optimum storage capacity and hydraulic head, the two most important variables, in essence, especially for viable hydropower generation. In addition, the height of the dam dictates critically the magnitude of effective head but unfortunately unavailable readily for most of the existing dams evaluated in this Study. They are less than 60 m in height in general. The design philosophy for the reservoir schemes at their preliminary conceptualization also does not support future multipurpose components of the reservoir operation. However a positive development of these potential schemes could be beneficial to supply power to the local community in the surrounding areas in additional to plant consumption.