Small Hydropower Plants

Application of best practical solutions during construction of Small Hydro Power Plants

In September 2016 Elektrovat put into operations first of its three mini-hydropower plants at the river Crni Rzav. Here we can witness technology never seen before in the Republic of Serbia concerning water intake and transport.

The first of the novelties is based on the COANDA overflow intake screen, the first of its kind in Serbia it has the ability to minimize all the problems regarding water intake as well as the usage of PVC pipes of large diameter (1.8 m) that were built at the place of construction using the ‘’spiral wounding’’ technology which significantly reduced the cost of transport.

Beli Kamen is a run-of-the-river type small hydropower plant that can generate 1.68 MW of power. The plant is designed for autonomous functioning, meaning that there is no crew present at the site and remote surveillance and management are implemented in its design. Remote access can be achieved from any place that has an internet connection.

The Power plant has a water flow rate of 2.7 m3/s, and its annual capacity is 6.5 GWh

Elektrovat has the status of privileged producer of electrical energy. SHPP Beli Kamen functions in its full designed capacity according to all environmental standards of developed countries (minimum flow rate, protection of flora and fauna, small negative environmental impact) and its construction has provided infrastructural pre-requirements for the construction of other small hydropower plants (approximately 9), the construction of which has been planned on the rivers Crni Rzav, Ribnica and Jablanica.

SHPP Beli Kamen represents an example of the best construction practices when it comes to the construction of small hydropower plants. Beli Kamen is equipped with the most modern equipment from most renowned manufacturers, we have applied the newest technologies in water intake and transport, the likes of which have never before been seen in the Republic of Serbia.
The first of the novelties is based on the COANDA overflow intake screen, first of its kind in Serbia, has an ability to minimize all problems regarding water intake – minimal obstruction of water flow at the place of the dam, minimal disturbance of water regime, and considerably diminished quantity of used construction materials (steel and concrete).
The novelty is based on the theory of floating sediment. The equation determines the curve along which the screen is made, so that all the sediment of torrent waters passes over it, the sediment larger than one millimeter cannot enter the system. Each subsequent larger water carries the residual sediment from the screen because it is sloping. This solution is used in Sweden and Canada, there are a couple of screens in Austria as well, and the engineers of the company Elektrovat were the first in Serbia to construct such an intake screen for the needs of this hydroelectric power plant.

By doing this we solved many problems:

  • Eliminated the problem of bedload.

  • Eliminated the problem of deposition of leaves and other flowing objects (plastic objects and bags and all other impurities that can be found in the river)
  • The applied screen is “environmentally friendly” in the sense that it prevents the entrance of small animals into pipelines (only particles smaller than 1 mm can enter the system).
  • The applied screen is self-defrosting and functions normally up to -20 degrees.

We had an opportunity to try out a new solution in the production of spiral pipes made of polyethylene, for the supply of water to the water chamber and the pressurized pipeline. In the construction of the power plant, for the first time in Serbia, large diameter PVC pipes (1.8 meters diameter) were used, made on the spot using the “spiral winding” technology under the Vesbo license.

Namely, for pipes with a diameter of more than 1,200 millimeters, the problem is transport. Since we do not manufacture pipes of that size in our country, they are transported from Turkey, and the price of transportation is usually higher than the value of the pipes themselves. For the first time in Serbia, the company Elektrovat applied the production of such pipes at the installation site – raw materials were delivered from Turkey and using fairly simple machines, pipes up to 1,800 millimeters in diameter, as needed, were wound on the construction site, which significantly reduced costs. At the same time, due to the volume of the pipes, the possibility of water accumulation was created and this enables usage of pipes when small flow rates are present.

The power plant was designed and constructed to work in a “cascade” with the next downstream power plant since the pipeline goes from one to another and does not return water to the river.

Beli Kamen on Crni Rzav has two units (with Francis turbines) of 1,220 and 470 kilowatts, as well as a regulated bypass of the total flow to the downstream power plant, which in case of generator malfunction, can transfer the same amount of water to the next power plant.

The power plant area is covered with 11 cameras. It is designed to work without a crew, one person is on occasional duty, while complete management, parameterization, supervision, visual observation of a large number of important points on the system of capturing, purifying, transporting water, as well as visual control inside and outside the facility are performed remotely.

The small hydroelectric power plant Beli Kamen has a capacity of 1.68 MW. It has an installed flow of 2.7 m3 / s, a useful drop of 73 to 75 meters, and a mandatory flow of 140 l / s. The power plant has an extremely high degree of utilization of available hydro potential and is designed to operate for four decades before the first overhaul.


High quality and business level of our company have been awarded an official acknowledgment via receiving certification for establishing Quality Management System (QMS) ISO 9001:2015, Environmental Protection Control System ISO 14001:2015, Occupational Health and Safety Management System OHSAS ISO 45001:2018 and Certificate of which we are particularly proud of – Energy Management System ISO 50001:2018 and Information Security Management Certificate ISO/ IEC 27001:2014


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