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Hydropower Strategic Alliances

Hydropower Strategic Alliances: How Producers Can Benefit

Who couldn’t use an ally?

For hydropower producers, it’s a legitimate consideration. They have difficult decisions to make about where to invest in their assets. On the one hand, they need to invest in facility and equipment upgrades and unit availability and reliability. On the other, variable capital costs, rising operations and maintenance costs, and permit and licensing requirements are concerns.

Tackling these and other challenges, producers can benefit from an alliance with a strategic partner. The choice of partner is, of course, critical. Working with an experienced, multidiscipline hydropower services provider is an effective way for producers to clarify objectives, fill resource gaps, and gain technical expertise. They also can use the arrangement to align their people, processes and technologies with project life-cycle performance goals, and thereby add value to assets, optimize operations, and maximize profits.

Ongoing Project Assistance Tailored to Strategic Needs

Strategic alliances are a natural fit for asset management programs.  They can be set up broadly to help producers maintain organizational stability, reliability, and financial performance. Tasks performed by a strategic alliance partner may include:

  • Performing inventory and condition assessments
  • Identifying, evaluating, and preventing safety risks
  • Creating standards, including for emergency operations
  • Implementing mitigation and improvement solutions

Versatility is a key feature of strategic alliances. They can be established for remediation, rehabilitation, repair, and new projects. They can be structured to accommodate fast-track schedules as well as ongoing operations, maintenance and relicensing efforts. Assignments may involve dams, spillways, canals, penstocks, fisheries structures, intakes and outlets, and cooling water systems. They may focus on the powerhouse, including the turbines, pumps, and mechanical and electrical systems. A strategic alliance also can involve any combination of assessment, study, planning, design, procurement, construction, and regulatory-related service.

The Value of a Single-source Services Provider

To best serve a producer’s investment in the alliance, the services provider must also be versatile.

Black & Veatch has worked under more than 800 alliance-type contracts. Clients include PG&E, PacifiCorp, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, WE Energies, Tennessee Valley Authority, and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Black & Veatch couples this experience with a global reach and comprehensive engineering, procurement, and construction services.

Such single-source capacity and expertise reduces or eliminates the need for additional partners or sub-consultants. It allows the provider to respond quickly and effectively to the unique situations and needs of producers, and save on project costs.

Subject Matter Expert
Carlos Araoz

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