Industry News

Washington utility to add 30 MW to 170-MW Baker River

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is moving forward with plans to add a new 30-MW powerhouse to the 170-MW Baker River hydroelectric project in northwestern Washington.

Authorization for the plans is included in a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicense order granting the utility 50 more years to operate the project.

PSE said it plans to build the new powerhouse adjacent to the 79.33-MW Lower Baker powerhouse, one of two existing developments in the Baker River project.

The utility will install two new turbine-generators with combined capacity of 30 MW, increasing the total installed capacity of the Lower Baker development to 109.33 MW. In addition to generating power, the new powerhouse will help PSE meet new minimum flows and ramping rates.

FERC said construction of the new powerhouse must begin by October 2012 and be complete by October 2014.

PSE said the relicense builds on years of collaborative studies and negotiated agreements between it and 23 other parties, including government entities, Indian tribes, fisheries interests, and environmental organizations. PSE and the parties initiated 76 major studies and held more than 400 meetings to prepare a settlement agreement for relicensing.

PSE estimates it will spend $360 million to meet provisions of the relicense and to operate the project. More than half of those costs, it said, are linked to fish enhancement measures. It will build improved fish passage systems for moving salmon around both Baker River dams.

Improved systems will include a new floating surface collector on Lake Shannon, similar to a $52.5 million Baker Lake floating surface collector PSE previously completed. The collector captures juvenile salmon for transport downstream to the Skagit River. (See “Tech Briefs”, Hydro Review, October 2008). PSE also will replace its adult fish trap below Lower Baker Dam.

Pennsylvania town receives license for 2.6-MW Beltzville

The borough of Lehighton, Pa., reports it has received a federal license necessary to build, operate, and maintain the 2.6-MW Beltzville hydroelectric project. The project will be built at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Beltzville Dam.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a 50-year license to Lehighton. Construction must begin by Sept. 11, 2010, and be complete two years later.

The project is on Pohopoco Creek upstream of its confluence with the Lehigh River, and northeast of Lehighton.

It will use head created by the 175-foot-tall, 4,600-foot-long Beltzville Dam, which the Corps built to provide water supply, flood control, flow augmentation, and recreation. The project’s two turbine-generators – one 1.7-MW unit and one 900-kW unit – are expected to generate a total of 9,470 megawatt-hours annually.

The state of Pennsylvania awarded a $750,000 grant to Leighton in 2007 to support project development.

New York City competes for Catskills project

New York City and the Delaware County Electric Cooperative are competing for a federal permit to study the feasibility of developing four hydroelectric plants at water supply reservoirs in Upstate New York.

New York City filed a preliminary permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking priority to develop the 29.75-MW West of Hudson project. The application competes with one filed earlier by Delaware County co-op for 63-MW Catskills Hydro.

Both applications propose using water supply reservoirs in the New York City watershed for hydro developments.

New York City’s proposal includes powerhouses at existing earthen dams and reservoirs: 12.1-MW Cannonsville, West Branch Delaware River, 25.46 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of annual generation; 1.65-MW Neversink, Neversink River, 7.79 GWh; 3.1-MW Pepacton, East Branch Delaware River, 9.04 GWh; and 12.9-MW Schoharie, Schoharie Creek, 31.8 GWh.

Delaware County’s proposal includes powerhouses for the same dams and reservoirs, but with different capacities and generation: 20.5-MW Cannonsville, 46.5 GWh; 6.5-MW Neversink, 4 GWh; 12.5-MW Pepacton, 16.7 GWh; and 23.5-MW Schoharie, 23.9 GWh.

Reclamation plans overhaul at 6,809-MW Grand Coulee

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to overhaul six units in the Third Power Plant at the 6,809-MW Grand Coulee hydro project, on the Columbia River in Washington.

Reclamation said it plans to overhaul turbines in Units G-19 through G-24 that have been in service since the mid-1970s. Units G-19 through G-21 are equipped with 820,000-horsepower (hp) Francis-type turbines designed by Dominion Engineering Works Ltd. and manufactured by Willamette Iron and Steel Co. Units G-22 through G-24 are equipped with 960,000-hp Francis-type turbines designed and manufactured by Allis-Chalmers.

Reclamation said a complete overhaul is necessary to ensure continued operation of the units. It includes work on the generator, turbine, shaft, and the auxiliary equipment of all six units.

Exelon completes rehab of 572-MW Conowingo

Exelon Corp. reports it successfully completed a $39 million rehabilitation program at the 572-MW Conowingo project on the Susquehanna River in northern Maryland.

The last four of the original 1928 units were rehabilitated over several years. Work included installation of new turbine runners, mechanical overhauls, rewinding of generators, and wicket gate seals. Two of the units received low-flow aerating runners, improving operational flexibility in low-flow conditions. The other two units were upgraded to 48 MW from 36 MW. Improvements bumped total capacity to 572 MW from 548 MW.

Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation manufactured and supplied the turbines for Conowingo.

Unit 2 was the final unit rehabilitated; Units 5, 6, and 7 were the other units. The work on Unit 2, completed in October 2008, included installation of a low-flow runner, a new generator stator, refurbished rotor, new wicket gates, and a babbitted turbine guide bearing, which replaced old-style wooden turbine guide bearings.

The new runner is an aerated runner. It allows air to be pulled into the water flow through the runner blades, increasing oxygen content in water discharged from the unit and benefiting fish and other species below the dam.

Licensees Susquehanna Power Co. and PECO Energy Power Co. filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to transfer the license to operate the project to PECO’s parent company Exelon Generation Co. LLC.

FERC previously certified efficiency improvements made to the project for renewable energy production tax credits. Those improvements stemmed from replacing the Unit 5 runner and wicket gates, implementing a hydro monitoring and optimization system, and adding capacity by replacing the runner and generator stator for Units 6 and 7.

Conowingo has generated electricity since 1928. The original plant featured seven turbines totaling 252 MW. In 1964, an additional four units were constructed, adding 260 MW of capacity and bringing the plant’s total capacity to 512 MW. In 2001, an overhaul of Unit 3 was completed and included turbine replacement and generator upgrades resulting in an additional 12 MW. A similar overhaul of Unit 1 was completed in May 2002 and on Unit 4 in January 2004, increasing total capacity to 548 MW.

NHA calls for applications for 2009 scholarship program

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) is accepting applications for its Past Presidents’ Legacy Scholarship, established to attract talented students to careers in the hydropower industry.

NHA awarded one $2,000 scholarship in 2008, the program’s first year, at the association’s 2008 annual conference in Washington. William Garrard, a Penn State student pursuing a degree in information science and technology, was the recipient of the program’s first award.

The program will begin accepting applications for its 2009 scholarship on Jan. 15; applications are due March 1. The $2,000 scholarship will be presented to the recipient at the 2009 annual conference, May 11-13, in Washington.

Applicants must be: juniors, seniors, or graduate students with a minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent, who are enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate course of study at an accredited four-year college or university; or students with an equivalent GPA at an accredited vocational technical school or program. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.

The Past Presidents’ Legacy Scholarship is funded by contributions from NHA, the Hydro Research Foundation, previous NHA presidents, and other donors as a legacy to past presidential service to the association.

The scholarship application is available from NHA’s Internet site, www. Applications should be sent to Scholarship America: NHA Past Presidents’ Legacy Scholarship, Scholarship Management Services, One Scholarship Way, P.O. Box 297, St. Peter, MN 56082. For information, contact Diane Lear, E-mail: diane@

L&S Electric upgrades control systems at Colgate

Yuba County Water Agency awarded a contract to L&S Electric Inc. to upgrade turbine and generator control systems for the 340-MW Colgate hydro plant, on the Yuba River in California. The work is scheduled for completion in December 2009.

L&S Electric, of Schofield, Wis., said it is supplying the excitation and governor systems for the plant’s two units. Work includes integration, engineering, supervision of installation, and commissioning. Yuba County Water Agency is performing the installation work.

Plans called for upgrading one unit by the end of 2008; the second unit is to be upgraded by the end of 2009.

Yuba County Water Agency places the value of the contract at more than $720,000: $415,000 for the governor upgrades and $306,000 for electronic voltage regulators.

The water agency previously awarded a $1,065,000 contract for other work at the powerhouse to Syblon Reid of Folsom, Calif. Syblon Reid is to install a penstock shutoff valve purchased from Adams Valves for about $2.8 million.

The Colgate plant, one of three powerhouses in the 361.9-MW Yuba River project, provides peaking power to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Its turbines weigh 28 tons each. They are among the largest impulse turbines in the world.

The upgraded governor system is expected to optimize unit availability and system response. The new governors will be capable of “black start,” automatic synchronization, power control, and isolation operation.

Additionally, the upgraded governors can operate in spinning reserve and can interface with an existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

Owner expands capacity at 34-MW Max Starcke Dam

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) reports it added a total of 8.8 MW of capacity at its 34-MW Max Starcke Dam project on the Colorado River in Texas through a $24.9 million rehabilitation program.

Two stainless steel replacement runners, including the one shown here, were installed at the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Max Starcke Dam project as part of a $24.9 million rehabilitation program. Click here to enlarge image

LCRA said it boosted the capacity of each of two 17-MW units to 21.4 MW, an increase of nearly 26 percent. It declared the work substantially complete in August 2008.

Contractors involved in the program included Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation, which designed and provided new stainless Kaplan turbine runners. National Electric Coil installed new generator windings.

The rehab program also included mechanical overhauls, installation of new unit circuit breakers and transformers, rehabilitation of head gates, and modernization of protection and control systems.

LCRA staff acted as the skilled labor for the turbine work and also completed a total electrical rehabilitation of the entire plant, including new switchgear and controls.

The Max Starcke powerhouse entered operation in 1951.

Corps awards contract for Lookout Point rehab

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $19.1 million contract to Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation for equipment to refurbish the 120-MW Lookout Point hydroelectric project in Oregon.

The Corps’ Portland District made the award to Voith Siemens, of York, Pa., to provide turbine runners for Lookout Point Dam, on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Work must be completed by Sept. 1, 2012.

Voith Siemens said it would provide replacement equipment and refurbish two of the three units at Lookout Point, with an option to include the third unit. The supplier will replace the runners in the two units and rehabilitate the rest of the turbine equipment. Runner blades will be manufactured at Voith Siemens facilities in Sao Paulo, Brazil. All other manufacturing and testing is to be performed at the company’s York facilities.

FERC certifies generation for production tax credits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certified incremental generation at two hydroelectric plants in Georgia and West Virginia to be eligible for federal renewable energy production tax credits.

FERC certified the incremental generation, as provided for by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The act stipulates that FERC is responsible for certifying incremental hydropower generation for renewable energy production tax credits. The Internal Revenue Service determines eligibility and whether to grant the credits.

John P. King Mill

The 2.125-MW John P. King Mill project, in Richmond County, Ga., is on the Augusta Canal downstream of the Augusta Diversion Dam. Augusta Canal Authority, licensee for John P. King Mill, sought certification of efficiency improvements made by reconfiguring the stator of one generator. Standard Textile Inc. operates the project.

Based on information provided by the licensee, FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 16,349,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh), and generation with improvements of 18,529,610 kWh. Generation from improvements represents a 13.33 percent increase.


The Marmet development is part of Appalachian Power Co.’s two-powerhouse 28.8-MW London/Marmet project, in West Virginia. Appalachian Power sought the certification of efficiency improvements gained by installing a new trashrake system at Marmet, on the Kanawha River.

FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 61,848,000 kWh and generation with improvements of 66,796,000 kWh. Generation from improvements represent an 8 percent increase.

Voith Siemens to equip 199-MW Folsom

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $7.1 million contract to Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation to supply replacement runners for all three turbines at 198.72-MW Folsom Dam, on California’s American River.

Voith Siemens, of York, Pa., responded to a solicitation that called for a contractor to: fabricate and test one turbine model and provide a test report; furnish and deliver three stainless steel vertical Francis-type runners, nose cones, and coupling bolts; and furnish and deliver shear pins. Government employees are to install the equipment. The first runner could be delivered in 2010.

All equipment manufacturing and model testing will be performed in York, the company said.

Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Department of Water Resources, and Sacramento Flood Control Agency already are doing other work at Folsom Dam, to address hydrologic risk and to double flood protection for Sacramento.

Corps awards contract for spill wall at The Dalles

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $45.4 million contract to General Construction Co. to build a spill wall in a stilling basin at 1,779.8-MW The Dalles Dam, on the Columbia River in Washington.

General Construction, Poulsbo, Wash., responded to a solicitation that estimated the work would cost from $25 million to $100 million.

The Corps’ Portland District said work would involve construction of a spill wall to aid fish passage in the stilling basin below the dam between Bays 8 and 9. The wall is to be built of pre-cast and cast-in-place concrete, 10 feet wide, about 830 feet long, and 25 to 43 feet tall.

Work will involve fabrication, transportation, and setting of large pre-cast concrete cells, concrete demolition, anchor installation, and grouting, rock removal, underwater and above-water concrete placement, rock drilling, and installation, grouting, and tensioning of rock tendons.

Spill to pass juvenile fish downstream will take place between two in-water work periods. Therefore, the Corps expects construction will extend over two seasons. The agency issued a notice to proceed to the contractor in August. The work is scheduled for completion by March 20, 2010.

Reclamation awards contract to equip 25-MW Yakima

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $1.89 million contract to Eaton Electrical Inc. to replace excitation systems at 12-MW Chandler and 12.937-MW Roza power plants, part of the Yakima project on Washington’s Yakima River.

Eaton Electrical, Bellevue, Wash., will furnish and install two static excitation systems at Chandler, northeast of Prosser, and one static excitation system at Roza, northeast of Yakima.

Work is scheduled for completion in November 2009.

Corps awards $93 million for Clearwater Lake cutoff wall

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $93.3 million construction contract for a concrete cutoff wall through the high-risk Clearwater Lake Dam in Missouri to control seepage and eliminate the risk of sinkholes.

The Corps’ Little Rock District awarded the contract to Bencor-Recon Joint Venture of Dallas.

On-site work is expected to begin in early 2009. The contract is expected to be complete by late 2013.

The seepage control wall will extend the full length of the dam, about 4,300 feet. It will be constructed through the earthen portion of the dam and will extend about 40 feet into the foundation rock below.

The cutoff wall, the primary element of the Clearwater Major Rehabilitation Project, will complement drilling and grouting activities currently in progress. The Corps expects the measures will greatly reduce seepage and assure the dam functions normally. It expects drilling and grouting work will be finished in early 2009.

Clearwater Dam, a 154-foot-tall, 4,225-foot-long flood control structure, was completed in 1948 on Missouri’s Black River. The Corps previously identified it as one of six Corps dams with a high risk of failure. It discovered a sinkhole in the upstream face of the structure in 2003 during a routine inspection but concluded from core samples the dam’s core is intact.

Integrated Power Services acquires Monarch Group

Integrated Power Services (IPS) announces its acquisition of The Monarch Group. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Monarch, based in Cleveland, Ohio, specialized in the repair, rewind, and remanufacture of motors and generators for power generation, including hydropower. Monarch will operate as an IPS company.

IPS, headquartered in Greenville, S.C., repairs electric motors and mechanical power transmission components and offers predictive and preventive diagnostic and on-site field services. IPS operates 16 regional service centers throughout the U.S.

Alstom opens Washington, D.C., office

Alstom, an equipment and services provider to the hydropower industry, has opened an office in Washington, D.C., to lobby legislators, regulators, and other stakeholders on clean power solutions.

Pierre Gauthier, president and chief executive officer of Alstom U.S., is based in the Washington office.

New York heritage group recognizes School Street

Brookfield Renewable Power is a recipient of the first-ever Erie Canalway Heritage Awards of Excellence for work at its 49.8-MW School Street hydroelectric project.

The 2008 award celebrates significant places in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which preserves the New York State Canal transportation system. School Street was selected as a model for corporate leadership in community revitalization.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission said an independent jury that selected recipients commended the company for improving the powerhouse in a manner preserving the historical integrity of the facility, built in 1915. It noted Brookfield also improved public access and viewing opportunities in the project area, and has contributed to the economic revitalization and quality of life in the city of Cohoes, N.Y.

Briefly …

Hendrick Screen Co., a manufacturer of water intake/fish diversion screens, announces the expansion of its facility in Owensboro, Ky. The expansion adds 10,000 square feet for manufacturing work and is expected to provide faster lead times for its product lines, the company said. … Envirosight LLC, a pipe inspection specialist, announces it has tripled the size of its headquarters in Randolph, N.J. The new facility houses a customer service team, technical service center, and large warehouse to accommodate increased shipping volume and shorter lead times, the company said.

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