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Energa to modernise another hydroelectric power plant

March 07, 2019

The power plant in Gałąźnia Mała is another hydroelectric power station which is about to be modernised. The purpose of the  modernisation is to maintain this unique facility in good operational condition and to increase the volume of clean energy produced by the Energa Group.

Operated by Energa Wytwarzanie SA, the unique, over a century old Gałąźnia Mała Hydroelectric Power Plant is located in the most picturesque part of the Słupia river basin. The facility is about to be fully modernised in the near future. Full automation of the production process, including the SCADA system, is planned to be implemented in the refurbished power plant. Modern control and power distribution systems (speed controllers, static excitation, automatic synchronisation) will be installed. The modernisation work includes the elimination of hydraulic speed controllers with belt drives and should result in increasing the volume of generated electricity by at least five percent. The modernisation works are carried out by the consortium: Gdańsk Division of the Institute of Power Engineering and Biproen Sp. z o.o.

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This is a derivative type of run-of-the-river plant, equipped with six Francis turbines containing a horizontal shaft, and with classic synchronous power generators that ensure a total installed capacity of 4.25 MW. However, the control and power distribution systems need an upgrade in order to meet the technical requirements for such facilities. That is why the Management Board of Energa Wytwarzanie S.A. has decided to modernise this important facility.

In February, an agreement was signed for the comprehensive modernisation of the power engineering part of the plant. The parties to these agreement are Energa Wytwarzanie SA and the consortium: Gdańsk Division of the Institute of Power Engineering and Biproen Sp. z o.o. According to the agreement, the subject of the contract is: the replacement of 15 kV switchgears and replacement of control rooms and measurement systems. The agreement also includes the modernisation of the parts related to the control of manufacturing equipment (speed controllers, static excitation, automatic synchronisation) and the necessary construction work. The modernisation will allow for introducing the full automation of the production process, including the SCADA system. The safety of operation will also be significantly improved, as will the adaptation of the facility to the requirements of the  Traffic and  Distribution  Grid Operation Manual of Energa-Operator SA. The volume of electricity produced is expected to increase by at least five percent, which should be possible thanks to the elimination of hydraulic speed controllers with belt drives.

Pursuant to the agreement, the contractor is to carry out modernisation works on the hydroelectric power plant within 28 weeks from the date of signing the agreement. The scope of work is valued at over PLN 3.3 million.

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The agreement concerning the modernisation of the Gałąźnia Mała Hydroelectric Power Plant was signed in the  headquarters of Energa Wytwarzanie SA on  28 February 2018. The agreement was signed for Energa Wytwarzanie SA by the representatives of its Management Board: Piotr Meler and Krzysztof Kurt. The implementing consortium was represented by Krzysztof Madajewski, Director of the Gdańsk Division of the Institute of Power Engineering, and Tomasz Ogryczak, the Director's Plenipotentiary.

The decision to modernise the Gałąźnia Mała Hydroelectric Power Plant was informed by several aspects,” says Piotr Meler, President of the Management Board of Energa Wytwarzanie  SA.”First of all, we need to increase the production of clean energy. This is a priority for us, as evidenced by the projects we are implementing, including the recently completed modernisation of the Borowo Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has increased the share of RES production, and thus also the share of renewable energy capacity in the production mix of the entire Energa Group. The construction of a hybrid energy storage facility in our wind power plant in Bystra is another example of such efforts. We also run a pilot initiative in Poland an innovative project to operate photovoltaic panels on water. An important premise for the modernisation of the Gałąźnia Mała hydroelectric power plant is the need to maintain this unique facility, a true “monument of engineering”, in a good technical condition which would allow for further safe and effective operation in a long term.”

The Gałąźnia Mała hydroelectric power station was built on the Słupia River, near Słupsk, in the area of the present “Słupia Valley" Landscape Park in 1914. The power station is located in the most picturesque part of the Słupia river basin. The catchment area of the power plant is 551.4 km2, and the average water flow is 4.41 m3/second with a water flow height of 38.5 m. The river, curved in an arc of 26 km in length, was cut by a 13-kilometre long string of a water engineering construction which is a derivation of the conventional run-of-the-river power plant. The turbines are placed in derivation ducts, which were made to increase the water flow height.

In 1920, when the full commissioning of the plant took place, it was the largest and technologically most advanced hydroelectric power plant in Northern Europe. Despite its rich history, which spans more than a hundred years, the Gałąźnia Mała power station is not only a highly interesting monument of industrial architecture, but it is also a fully operational hydrotechnical facility which uses water to generate electricity. For decades, its technological solutions were a model for designers of similar objects all over Europe. Thanks to the genius of engineers from Gotha, the power generators and turbines designed a hundred years ago  have worked in Gałąźnia Mała to this day.

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Energa Wytwarzanie SA, as the leader of the Generation Business Line of Energa Group, coordinates the Group’s activities related to RES energy production, electricity and heat production from conventional sources, including cogeneration, provision of system services, heat transmission and distribution. Water, wind, biomass, solar radiation and coal are all used to produce electricity.  The companies of the Generation Business Line operate 47 hydroelectric power stations, five wind farms, two solar parks, one conventional power station, four CHP plants and two heating plants.