High-Stakes Headrace

Moglicë, Albania is a small town on the upturn due to construction of the Moglicë Hydropower Station – part of a new project known as Devoll Hydropower that will increase the country’s electricity production by 17 %. The new station, together with the nearby Banja Hydropower Station, will have an annual generating capacity of 242 MW. Once a dying community, residents are returning to Moglicë and finding work at the hydropower construction. At least 200 people have returned to the community after emigrating to Greece. But the project has not been without challenges: the remoteness of the jobsite, the mountainous terrain, and the complex geology make the excavation of the power station and its 6.7 km long headrace tunnel anything but simple.

The JV contractor responsible for the headrace tunnel, Limak/AGE, opted for a unique type of TBM to bore in ophiolite, flysch, mélange and breccia with suspected water inflows up to 20 bar. The 6.2 m diameter Robbins Crossover XRE TBM is the first such machine to be used in Europe (Fig. 1), and has been designed with features of both hard rock Double Shield and EPB TBMs.

Power to the People

Currently, nearly all of Albania’s electricity is provided by aging hydroelectric power plants, which are becoming ineffective due to increasing droughts. In answer, Devoll Hydropower Sh.A., an Albanian...

Related articles:

Issue 03/2013 TBM tunnelling

Mechanized Excavation for the Chute de Gavet Hydropower Project in France

In the world-wide production of electricity, hydropower is in third place after coal and oil&gas. Therefore it is the most important renewable energy source and makes a significant contribution to the...


TBM Launch for the Sunkoshi Marin Diversion Multipurpose Project in Nepal

Granitic Rock With Maximum Overburden of 1320 m The headrace tunnel is being bored through granitic rock with maximum overburden of 1320 m. Geological conditions may include squeezing ground,...

Issue 05/2011

Palomino Project: First Double Shield TBM in the Dominican Republic

1 Island Pioneers The “Anacaona” Double Shield TBM (4.5 m diameter) (Fig. 1) started its work where Columbus’ first great voyage of discovery ended in 1492. On the Caribbean island of Hispaniola,...

Issue 03/2011

Double Shield TBM for Indian Water Tunnel

Project Background Eastern areas of India’s Andhra Pradesh state receive only 20 cm of rainfall per year - an amount comparable to Africa’s Kalahari Desert. The Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Department...

Issue 08/2010

New Ground Support gains Traction in China

More than eight hours away from the nearest city sits China’s Qinling Mountain, part of a range soaring up to 3,767 m high. About halfway up the mountainside is the jobsite for the Qinling Rail...