Khutjeg Konkh Barrage

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Irŷēălŭ Ħ 'đēg-konħ (Utz: 'Khutjeg Konkh Barrage' or 'Salt Lake Barrage') is the largest infrastructural development on the main island of Ūdzđąnąrąt (Udenarrat). It was developed by a group of islanders between the 1950s and 1970s and provides electrical power to many of the villages on the island. The barrage also regulates tidal flows in the salt lake area, lessening the tidal range and making life easier in some of the stilt-hut and floating villages located around the lake. The plant also has a hydro-power element, consisting of the outflow of the rivers that flow into the Salt Lake basin.

Irŷēălŭ Ħ 'đēg-konħ
TypeCo-operative
IndustryElectrical power generation
 Tidal regulation
Founded1956
FounderUnknown
HeadquartersKzŭkzŭŷēpyă, Udenarrat flag.png Ūdzđąnąrąt
Area Served Ūdzđąnąrąt
ProductsElectricity
Production Output136GW/h per annum
Number of employees40



Plant type and location

The installation consists of a tidal barrage spanning the channel of Şĕtzą Đā in the north-east part of the island near the fortress-village of Kzŭkzŭŷēpyă. The power plant has an installed capacity of just over 500 GW. Operating with a capacity factor averaging 26%, the total power generated from the installation is in the region of 136GW/h per annum.

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History

Construction of the dam, February 1960
The channel of Şĕtzą Đā (the narrows of Đā) was first partially dammed in prehistoric times, probably to increase fish and shellfish numbers in the Salt Lake. The dam, which could be broken to cause a sudden flood, also served as a defensive measure to repel incoming hostile ships. Tidal mills operated on the site of the present-day dam, grinding both limestone rock (for soil improvement and concrete) and plant matter for food production.

In the early 1950s, ideas to develop tidal power on the island followed previous development of run-of-river hydro power schemes. The development was led by a small number of Udenarraty individuals calling themselves 'Ekąşąħukzŭ' (River Beings). Starting on small hydro schemes, perhaps inspired by a scheme found abandoned at a whaling station, they developed progressively larger schemes from the 1930s onwards. Work on the barrage started in 1956 and took about 17 years, with the plant coming into operation in 1973. Some assistance was given by an engineering advisor from Gobrassanya, Solomon Jacobs, who took a number of the photographs shown here. Solomon Jacobs returned briefly to Gobrassanya in 1971 but died soon afterwards, before he had given any details of his work in Udenarrat.

Panoramic oil painting by the ethnographer Margaret Freed of the Salt Lake of Ħ 'đēg-konħ basin viewed from the east, c1935[1]. The barrage connects the two sides of the lake. The fortress of Kzŭkzŭŷēpyă is in the centre of the image in the far distance on the left hand side of the channel.


Technical Information

One of the 60 tubines installed inside the dam

The dam itself is 466.4m across of which the hydro-generating portion is 404m. The dam width is 37m. The dam takes in a small island that lies on the north side of the narrow channel, Đārąt (Dah Island). The 60 hydro-electric turbines run for approximately 4 hours twice a day. The area of the Salt Lake tidal basin retained behind the barrage is 55.7 square km. The mean tidal range is 6.6 m (springs) and 4.4 (neaps). The 60 1.02MW hydro-electric turbines give a maximum output of 232 megawatts and an average output of 50 megawatts. The plant has an installed capacity of just over 500 GW. Operating with a capacity factor averaging 26%, the total power generated from the installation is in the region of 136GW/h per annum.

Notes

1. Painted around 1935. Copyright the estate of Margaret Kaunbami Freed, all rights reserved.