Mott MacDonald helps design remote hydroelectric plant in Albania

Design is complicated by the region’s seismic and tectonic activity and a lack of access roads (Courtesy of Mott MacDonald)
UK-headquartered engineering consultant Mott MacDonald has been hired to support the development of preliminary designs for a new hydroelectric plant on the River Drin in Skavica, Albania.

Working with lead contractor Bechtel, which announced the project in July, Mott MacDonald is developing hydrological, geotechnical, seismic and engineering technical studies and will recommend a preferred layout for the scheme. It will also produce a front-end-engineering and design studies for the project’s cost estimate.

Design is complicated by seismic and tectonic activity in the region and a lack of access roads, said the company.

It said a comprehensive BIM structure will be used. Standard LiDAR, photogrammetry and other digital data collection techniques will be used to populate the BIM models.

Albania generates most of its electricity with hydropower: about five terawatt-hours (TWH) of the seven THW the country uses, making it a net importer of electricity.

The new plant will boost power production by 20%, while also regulating the three existing hydropower plants on the Drin. It will be owned and operated by the Albanian Power Corporation (KESH).

“This project represents a low carbon solution to providing for Albania’s growing energy needs,” said Ajay Chaudhary, Account Leader, Mott MacDonald. “At the same time, it will improve the region’s resilience to flooding, the risk of which is increasing because of climate change.”

Phase 1 of the project is estimated to be completed in November 2022. Construction of the plant is expected to take around four years.

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