IHA prize awarded to Cape Town

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) awarded its 2003 Blue Planet Prize to two schemes – the Palmiet Pumped Storage Scheme in South Africa and the Salto Caxias Hydropower Plant in Brazil.

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) awarded its 2003 Blue Planet Prize to two schemes – the Palmiet Pumped Storage Scheme in South Africa and the Salto Caxias Hydropower Plant in Brazil. The IHA awards the prize every two years with evaluation support by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) International Hydrological Programme.

First, the 400-MW Palmiet pumped-storage scheme near Cape Town was awarded for its technical, environmental and economic excellence. The pumped storage operation provides system stability for the South African electricity network, and provides extra water supply for the Cape Town area. In particular, the scheme was noted for its protection and management of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which includes the unique Fynbos flora. The area, including that of the Palmiet scheme, has subsequently been designated as a UNESCO biosphere, The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.

Second, the 1,240-MW Salto Caxias scheme on the Iguau river in Southern Brazil is the lowest in a cascade of reservoirs upstream of the famous Iguau Falls at the confluence with the Parana river. Judges found that the developer, Companhia Paranaense de Energia (COPEL), who had to relocate 600 families from the reservoir area, demonstrated excellence in relation to its socio-economic achievements. The affected group now lives in a strong agricultural community, where organic products are exported to international markets.

This project clearly shows that well planned and managed hydropower development can provide benefits far beyond the supply of clean power, said Hannu Puranen of Finland, an IHA inspector.

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