Industry News

AMP-Ohio awards contract for Ohio River projects

American Municipal Power-Ohio (AMP-Ohio) announced it awarded an equipment contract worth more than $300 million to Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation for three hydroelectric projects on the Ohio River totaling 191 MW.

Voith Siemens will manufacture a total of eight bulb turbines and generators for 35-MW Willow Island at Willow Island Locks and Dam near Waverly, W.Va.; 84-MW Cannelton at Cannelton Locks and Dam, near Cannelton, Ind.; and 72-MW Smithland at Smithland Locks and Dam in Livingston County, Ky.

AMP-Ohio awarded the contract following evaluation of bids by its staff and the owner’s engineer, MWH.

Voith Siemens will manufacture many of the turbine components in York, Pa. Voith Siemens said it would consider opening a new manufacturing plant in Ohio, contingent upon state incentives.

The projects represent the largest order in Voith Siemens’ 131-year history in the U.S.

Eighty-five AMP-Ohio member utilities are participating in the projects and have executed contracts to purchase their power. AMP-0hio said it is working with members to develop additional projects at existing dams with the goal of adding more than 350 MW of hydro capacity.

The new generation facilities are expected to go on line in 2012, AMP-Ohio President Marc Gerken said.

Report: Nine Corps projects need $470 million in repairs

Results of an assessment of equipment in nine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ hydropower plants in Tennessee and Kentucky point to the need for as much as $470 million in repairs.

MWH, a consulting engineering firm, conducted the assessment under contract to the Corps. Proposed work identified by the assessment includes turbine replacements, generator rewinds, and transformer replacements. Cost of the repairs is estimated at $350 million to $470 million.

MWH studied nine hydropower projects on the Cumberland River: Barkley, 130 MW; Center Hill, 135 MW; Cheatham, 36 MW; Cordell Hull, 100 MW; Dale Hollow, 54 MW; Laurel, 61 MW; Old Hickory, 100 MW; J. Percy Priest, 28 MW; and Wolf Creek, 270 MW.

The assessment concludes significant investments are needed to rehabilitate and modernize the plants, which range in age from 31 to 60 years old.

The Corps said it would use the study results to determine an optimal strategy to perform the repairs. The Corps also plans to determine how to fund the repairs, and prioritize and schedule the work.

Reclamation plans to study adding new turbines at Hoover

The Bureau of Reclamation is planning for studies that could lead to replacement of as many as six turbines at 2,078-MW Hoover Dam.

Drought has substantially lowered Lake Mead, the reservoir behind Hoover Dam, External Affairs Officer Bob Walsh said. As a result, he said, Reclamation is developing plans to study possible benefits from installing one or more new turbines designed for a wider head range than the existing turbines. The study would include costs of the equipment.

New turbines designed for a wider head range would generate more efficiently over a greater range of lake elevations, Walsh said.

“To help determine whether or not it would be beneficial to install new turbines, we are planning to complete computational fluid dynamics and a physical model study to define performance characteristics for a new turbine design that would operate under various head ranges,” Walsh said. “We could potentially install one to six new turbines, depending on the results of the studies.”

Walsh emphasized Reclamation’s planning is in the early stages. The agency does not know when, or if, it will advertise for contracts for work.

Hoover Dam, on the Colorado River in Arizona and Nevada, began operation in 1936. Ages of its 19 turbines range from 15 to 25 years. Over the long term, the benefits and costs for any new turbines installed would be evaluated to determine if additional turbines should be replaced, Walsh said.

Minnesota Power to replace turbines at 5-MW Little Falls

Minnesota Power said it plans to rehabilitate two 102-year-old units at its 5-MW Little Falls hydroelectric project on the Mississippi River.

The utility said it would replace two S. Morgan Smith turbines installed in 1906 to return the 400-kW units to their nameplate capacity. While turbines in both units are worn and inefficient, the generators still are in good shape, Minnesota Power said.

Norcan Hydraulic Turbines Inc. is designing and manufacturing the new turbines. Equipment is expected to be delivered before the end of 2008.

Minnesota Power’s maintenance crew will install the turbines, the utility said.

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, supplies electric service to 141,000 retail customers, 16 municipalities, and large industrial customers.

Equipment contractor named for 18-MW Tulloch Dam

Tri-Dam Project selected Canadian Hydro Components to supply equipment for a new unit at 18-MW Tulloch Dam on California’s Stanislaus River.

Tri-Dam Project, a venture of the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts, is adding a third unit to the existing two-unit plant. The new unit will add 6.7 MW, bringing the plant’s total generating capacity to 24.7 MW.

The $4.3 million contract calls for Canadian Hydro Components to deliver the equipment in 2009.

MWH, Tri-Dam’s design engineer, has prepared bidding documents for the construction phase of the project. Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2010.

BPA spends $716 million on fish and wildlife program

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) spent $716 million to mitigate the effects of federal hydropower projects on Columbia River Basin fish and wildlife in fiscal year 2007 (October 2006-September 2007), the Northwest Power and Conservation Council reported.

Direct spending to implement the council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program accounted for $139.5 million of the total, the council said.

The balance included $60.3 million BPA spent to reimburse the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation for fish-related dam operations. It also included: $112.9 million in interest, amortization, and depreciation on capital investments in facilities such as hatcheries and fish passage at dams; $282.6 million in forgone hydropower revenues that resulted from dam operations that benefited fish but reduced hydropower generation; and $120.7 million in power purchases to replace the forgone hydropower.

The figures are included in a draft annual report on BPA’s fish and wildlife expenditures for fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, 2007. The council said it would distribute a final report to governors of Northwest states.

Thirty-five-year bill tops $9.3 billion

The 2007 expenditures bring the grand total of BPA’s fish and wildlife spending, from 1978 when the expenses began, through 2007, to $9.38 billion, the council said.

BPA funds the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, which the council develops as stipulated by the Northwest Power Act of 1980. The program is intended to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin affected by hydropower dams while assuring the region of an adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power supply.

Renewable energy bonds fund Swift Creek rehab

Lower Valley Energy Inc. is using federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to revive the 1.55-MW Swift Creek hydroelectric project, idled 40 years ago.

The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. allocated $5.73 million in bonding authority for the project under the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds program. The program was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as an incentive to entities that are exempt from taxation and, therefore, cannot use production tax credits offered to other owners of renewable energy projects.

An avalanche damaged Swift Creek in 1968. A pipe failed a year later, destroying electrical equipment in a lower powerhouse, one of two powerhouses. While there no longer are generating units in either powerhouse, the project’s authorized capacity is 1.55 MW.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a request by the city of Afton, Wyo., to transfer the project to electric cooperative Lower Valley Energy.

In the transfer order, FERC requires the licensee to file a schedule, plans, and specifications for resuming project operations, citing long-term disrepair of the project. Reconstruction must be completed by Dec. 19, 2009.

A report prepared for FERC by developer Symbiotics LLC states progress so far is limited to manufacturing and fabrication of major project components. It stated penstocks were near completion and soon would be coated. Turbine and generator equipment also were in final design.

The report identified suppliers including Northwest Pipe, penstocks; Canyon Hydro, turbine and generator; BAT Electric, controls and switchgear; and Tin Cup Enterprises LLC, an access bridge.

FERC certifies tax credit for 312-MW Pit 3, 4, 5

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certified incremental generation at Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s (PG&E) 312-MW Pit 3, 4, and 5 hydro project in California for renewable energy production tax credits.

PG&E said it made efficiency improvements by upgrading the turbine in Unit 4 at the Pit 5 powerhouse, on the Pit River in Shasta County. It completed the upgrade in July 2007. FERC issued the certification order in May.

Pit 5 contains four generating units, each driven by a vertical-shaft Francis-type turbine, with a combined normal operating capacity of about 160 MW. The upgrade involved installation of a new runner and wicket gates, and upgrades to electrical and mechanical components.

Based on information from the licensee, FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 971,501.3 megawatt-hours (MWh) for the powerhouse, and generation with improvements of 974,522.3 MWh. FERC certified incremental generation of 3,021 MWh. PG&E said the percentage of generation due to improvements totaled 0.31 percent.

Reclamation recoats components at 250-MW Yellowtail

The Bureau of Reclamation expects work to recoat components of the 250-MW Yellowtail Dam power plant will be completed in September.

Ostrom Painting & Sandblasting Inc., Rock Island, Ill., will complete the work under a $320,000 contract awarded by Reclamation’s Great Plains Regional Office. It removed coating systems from surfaces of 84-inch hollow jet valves, the downstream face of ring follower gates, and interior surfaces of penstocks. The contractor also is preparing surfaces and applying the new coating systems.

Yellowtail Dam power plant is one of five hydropower plants in the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin project. It is located on the Big Horn River southeast of Billings, Mont.

Utility plans to repair penstock at 8-MW McClure

Upper Peninsula Power Co. (UPPCO) announced construction activities could begin as early as this fall to repair the penstock at its 8-MW McClure hydro plant in Michigan.

McClure has been off line since an expansion joint failed in November 2007 on the Dead River.

UPPCO said STS Consultants of Marquette, Mich., completed an engineering evaluation of the wood and steel portions of the penstock. Results of that evaluation indicated a significant portion of the penstock must be replaced.

UPPCO named Barr Engineering of Ann Arbor, Mich., to provide design engineering services. If construction activities begin as expected this fall, the new penstock would be in service by the end of 2009, the utility said. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval is required before construction can begin.

“The McClure Hydro is an important generation asset for UPPCO,” Pat Fulsher, superintendent of regional generation, said. “Getting it back up and running as quickly as possible is good for UPPCO and for our ratepayers.”

New York restarts second unit at 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa

New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced it refurbished and returned to service a second unit at the four-unit 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage project.

The newly refurbished pump-turbine generator, Unit 1, resumed operation in June. It had been out of service since September 2007. Unit 2, the first unit refurbished in a four-year, $135 million program to modernize and extend the life of Blenheim-Gilboa, was returned to service in May 2007.

With the overhaul of two units complete, the state-owned utility said all four units would be available this year to meet demand during the peak-demand summer season.

In September, NYPA will begin work on the third pump-turbine generator, shutting down the entire station for part of October and November to lower the water level of the upper reservoir to prepare for work. The third unit is to return to service in June 2009. Work on the final unit will be performed in the same manner the following year.

The Life Extension and Modernization program is scheduled for completion in June 2010. It includes replacement of major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to most other parts.

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