Industry News

Corps of Engineers awards contracts to Voith Hydro

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Voith Hydro Inc. a $30.8 million contract to replace turbine equipment at its 45.2-MW Stockton project in Missouri’s Sac River system.

The project’s sole Kaplan turbine was commissioned in 1973.

The contract includes work to replace the runner, rewind the generator stator winding, upgrade the hydraulic governor with a digital governor and replace the existing excitation system with new digital excitation system. The contractor will design, manufacture, and model test a scale model replacement runner and appurtenances for a Kaplan type turbine.

The Corps also awarded Voith a contract to design and supply two advanced turbines for the 603-MW Ice Harbor hydroelectric project on Washington’s lower Snake River.

The contract, valued at $10.94 million, will include the design and supply of fixed-blade and adjustable-blade turbine runners to replace existing runners in Units 2 and 3.

FERC issues relicense to Warrior River project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a 30-year new license (relicense) to Alabama Power Co. for continued operation of the 211.4-MW Warrior River hydroelectric project in Alabama.

Alabama Power filed in 2005 to renew the original license of the two-development project on the Black Warrior and Sipsey Fork rivers. The project has operated under temporary annual licenses since the original expired in 2007.

The project includes the 157.5-MW Lewis Smith development on Sipsey Fork and the 53.9-MW John Hollis Bankhead development on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Bankhead Lock and Dam 17 on the Black Warrior.

Alabama Power proposed no new generating capacity with plans to continue operating the project as a peaking facility and to implement measures to address environmental effects. The utility proposed developing a drought management plan, installing minimum flow valves, increasing lake levels for black bass spawning, constructing an aeration system at Smith, and implementing measures to enhance and monitor dissolved oxygen.

In a March 31, 2010, order, FERC estimated continued operation of Warrior River with added resource agency mandatory conditions and FERC staff recommendations would result in an annual cost of $8.3 million, or $19 per megawatt-hours.

Settlement calls for Mill Pond Dam removal

Seattle City Light said a settlement has been reached to relicense its Boundary Dam hydropower project on the Pend Oreille River in northeastern Washington. As part of this agreement, Mill Pond Dam, owned by the Pend Oreille Utility District.

The Seattle utility says the deal is the result of two years of negotiations. The agreement was filed in March 2010 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC will make a final decision in 2011.

Removing Pend Oreille’s Mill Pond Dam on Sullivan Creek would open 16 miles of fish habitat, Seattle City Light said.

“What makes these agreements unique are the cost savings and environmental benefits that were made possible by combining the re-licensing of a hydroelectric project owned by one licensee, with the dismantling of a dam owned by another licensee on a tributary of the same river,” said Jorge Carrasco, superintendent of Seattle City Light.

The Boundary project accounts for more than half the power the utility produces. Hydroelectric operations at Sullivan Creek were discontinued in 1956.

Small hydro projects secure funds from MassCEC

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced it is releasing grants to support six hydro projects under the Commonwealth Hydro Initiative.

MassCEC’s board of directors approved the grants, totaling more than $600,000. The awards include design and construction grants for upgrades and repairs to two hydropower projects and feasibility studies for four hydro projects.

The Commonwealth Hydropower Initiative is funded by MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund, which is funded by renewable energy charges on electric bills. The two projects receiving design and construction grants are in Holyoke and Russell.

MassCEC awarded a $260,418 grant to Woronoco Hydro LLC for upgrades to its FERC-licensed hydropower generating station on the Westfield River in Russell. This facility has three turbines with a nameplate capacity of 1.9 MW. The planned upgrades will increase generation by about 1 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually and include installation of an automatic trash rake that will clear debris and ice from the trash racks, repairing the draft tube and dredging the outlet of the tailrace pool.

MassCEC awarded a $309,825 grant to Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) for the repair and upgrade of its No. Four Project, a FERC-licensed hydropower generating station on the Holyoke canal system. The facility has two 375 kW-rated generating units, one of which has been out of service since a 2004 fire. The planned rehabilitation will repair damaged equipment and upgrade the controls and automation. Once completed, the facility will generate approximately additional 997,000 kWh per year of electricity.

Awards for the four feasibility studies go to projects in Pittsfield, Holyoke, West Springfield and Fitchburg.

Eaton wins contract to upgrade Hartwell project in Georgia

Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corp. announced it will supply more than $2.5 million in electrical products and services to upgrade the Hartwell hydroelectric plant.

Eaton obtained the contract through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Savannah, Ga., office. The 422-MW project is on the Savannah River in Georgia.

Eaton will design and engineer control and distribution systems and install motor control centers, low-voltage switchboards and arc resistant low-voltage switchgear. Work is scheduled to begin April 19, 2010, with an expected completion date of Oct. 30, 2010.

U.S. awards gate modification contract for Pinto Dam

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded Associated Underwater Services Inc. a contract for a high-pressure gate modification project at Pinto Dam, part of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric project in Washington state.

The contractor will furnish and install a new bulkhead gate and guides to be installed underwater. The contract for the work is worth $705,850.

A new steel and stainless steel high-pressure gate leaf is to be fabricated to replace the existing gate leaf.

The contractor also is to supply and install a replacement hydraulic control system.

Reivax launches U.S. branch in Florida

Reivax, a Brazil-based firm that provides automation and control technology for hydropower and other industries, announced the launch of Florida-based Reivax North America LLC.

Initially, the company’s first North America location will provide business sales support and sales promotion for Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Reivax Automation and Control recently was awarded a contract with Endesa Chile for the modernization of the excitation systems and speed governor control of five hydro plants of the Chilean group.

Reivax systems are developed specifically for the energy market.

With its own department of Research and Development, Reivax has teams specializing in hardware design, software design and system integration.

Corps awards cable replacement contract to T.E.M. Group

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $3.29 million contract for control cable replacement at the 135-MW Center Hill Dam hydro project on the Caney Fork River near Lancaster, Tenn.

The contract was awarded to Kentucky-based T.E.M. Group Inc.

The agency seeks installation of temporary control cables for one generator; replacement of control and low-voltage power cables, switchyard portion of control cable conduits, and cable trays; and sealing of seepage cracks that run through the spread room, control cable tunnel, and power cable tunnel.

Fish passage project at Red Bluff Diversion Dam ready to begin

Work is underway on California’s Red Bluff Diversion Dam Fish Passage Improvement Project, which is part of the nation’s largest Department of the Interior economic stimulus project.

The project is a $5.25 million cooperative agreement that is part of the $109 million going to Red Bluff under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Red Bluff Diversion Dam gates are lowered to form Lake Red Bluff, which diverts water from the Sacramento River into the Tehama-Colusa and Corning canals to irrigate 150,000 acres crops. When the gates are lowered, they block threatened and endangered salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon, as well as other fish species, from reaching their spawning grounds.

Reclamation’s partner, the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority, received the $5.25 million to construct an interim screened pumping plant to deliver irrigation water while the gates are raised, providing unimpeded fish passage.

More than $76 million will be provided at a later date for construction of a permanent pumping plant. The project will be completed in phases, with completion expected in 2012.

The total project cost is estimated at $230 million and is being funded in part by the $109 million in ARRA money.

U.S. awards transformers contract to IES Commercial

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract for replacement transformers and site modifications at the 517.8-MW Garrison Dam hydro project on the Missouri River in Garrison, N.D.

The $4.9 million contract was awarded to Texas-based IES Commercial Inc.

The Corps’ Omaha District hired L&S Electric in 2007 to retrofit governors at the hydroelectric project.

The transformer work is to include removal of six single-phase 115-kV generator step-up transformers, reconstruction of the transformer deck to accommodate two new 115-kV three-phase generator step-up transformers, removal and replacement of the isolated phase bus, replacement of oil-filled high-voltage cables with solid-dielectric high-voltage cables, replacement of the generator neutral grounding system, installation of a transformer deluge and containment system, replacement of transformer controls and relaying, replacement of the annunciation system, and synchronization of potential transformers.

FERC upholds lottery for simultaneous permit applications

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a challenge to its unprecedented use of a drawing to pick from among three preliminary permit applications that were filed simultaneously under FERC’s electronic filing policy.

The case called into question FERC’s use of the drawing, which is not outlined in commission regulations, and FERC’s practice of accepting electronic filings overnight and stamping them all as received at the opening hour, 8:30 a.m., on the following business day.

FERC issued a preliminary permit on Nov. 5, 2009, to the city of Angoon, Alaska, to study developing the 20-MW Ruth Lake hydroelectric project on Ruth Lake and Delta Creek near Petersburg, Alaska.

It denied competing applications by two other municipalities, Petersburg Municipal Power & Light and the city and borough of Wrangell, Alaska. It also rejected an application by a non-municipality, Cascade Creek LLC.

Petersburg filed for a rehearing, calling FERC arbitrary and capricious on several points, including FERC’s use of a lottery drawing to pick a winner from among the three municipal applicants.

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