Industry News

NYPA completes upgrade of Robert Moses Niagara

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) finished a $298 million, 15-year upgrade of its 2,515-MW Robert Moses Niagara power plant.

NYPA says the program involved replacing turbines and retrofitting other components in all 13 generating units of Robert Moses Niagara power plant, the main generating facility of the 2,755-MW Niagara power project. Work began in 1991, and the last of the units was returned to service Dec. 21, 2006.

“We are extremely gratified by the results of this program, which was designed and managed by the power authority’s engineering and project management organizations and carried out largely by our staff at the Niagara project,” NYPA Chairman Frank McCullough Jr. said.

NYPA President Timothy Carey said the Niagara project will be critical to meeting New York’s renewable energy targets proposed by Gov. George Pataki in 2003, and adopted by state regulators in 2004. A renewables portfolio standard calls for at least 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources such as hydropower by 2013.

Generating units were removed from service one at a time to permit work on each unit to be completed with minimal effect on the project’s output, NYPA said.

As a result of the update, the project has 32 MW of additional capacity. Half of the new power is to be provided to municipal and rural cooperative customers. The other half will be used to meet a portion of allocations to local entities included in agreements reached in the Niagara project relicensing process.

In addition to the upgrade of Robert Moses, NYPA completed a $24 million maintenance program in 2006 at the Niagara project’s 240-MW Lewiston Pump-Generating plant. That plant supplements the Moses plant’s output during peak demand.

NYPA begins overhaul at 1,160-MW Blenheim Gilboa

At another of its hydro stations, 1,160-MW Blenheim Gilboa Pumped-Storage, NYPA began a four-year, $135 million overhaul.

Work includes replacement of major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to most other parts, the utility said. Unit 2 is to be complete by June 2007, in time to help meet peak summer demand. The rehab process will be repeated for the other three units beginning each fall in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The entire program is to be complete by May 2010.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2006 approved NYPA’s plan to rehabilitate the four units, authorizing a capacity increase to 1,160 MW from 1,000 MW and improvement in efficiency of about 7 percent.

U.S. awards $17.6 million for Animas-La Plata conduit

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $17.6 million contract to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s Weeminuche Construction Authority (WCA) to construct the Ridges Basin inlet conduit.

The conduit, a principal feature of the Animas-La Plata project, will carry water from a pumping plant to Lake Nighthorse, which will impound 120,000 acre-feet and include an inactive pool for recreation, fisheries, and water quality.

Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson announced the inlet conduit contract award Dec. 4, saying Animas-La Plata is about 44 percent complete.

Primary work of the inlet conduit contract includes construction of a buried steel pipeline that will transport water 2.1 miles from the pumping plant to the reservoir. WCA, of Towaoc, Colo., also will build vents and stilling structures that will regulate the flow of the water being pumped from the Animas River to the reservoir. Reclamation said work on the conduit should be completed in 2009.

Reclamation previously awarded an $84.9 million contract to WCA for construction on Ridges Basin Dam, the biggest feature of Animas-La Plata. The dam will store water from the Animas River in Lake Nighthorse for use in the Four Corners area of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Animas-La Plata is being built to fulfill the water rights settlement of the two Indian tribes that live in Colorado – the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The tribes have water rights dating back to 1868. Fulfillment of the settlement obligations, including completion of the Animas-La Plata project, will provide non-Indian water users in southwest Colorado certainty of the continued use of water, Reclamation said.

On-line report: 13.6-MW Tieton Dam

A new hydropower project built at an existing Bureau of Reclamation dam on the Tieton River in Yakima County, Wash., is expected to produce 50,000 megawatt-hours annually.

The 13.6-MW Tieton Dam project has been operating since September 2006.

Tieton Hydropower LLC of Goldendale, Wash., is the project licensee. Mountain State Construction Co. was general contractor. Other contractors and subcontractors included: Atomic Electric, electrical installation; Machinery Installation and Maintenance Inc., mechanical installation; CHEC, turbine and generator supply; Summit Power Engineering, switchgear, control panels, and controls; East Cascade Electric, cable; and Christenson Electric, substation and transmission line.

INCA Engineers Inc., Bellevue, Wash., finalized detail design and prepared construction drawings and specifications for the owner. INCA reviewed contractors’ and manufacturers’ drawings, and inspected equipment. It also assisted the owner with construction monitoring, commissioning, and testing.

Electricity generated at the project is being sold to the Eugene Water and Electric Board in Eugene, Ore.

Oswego Falls to generate incremental power in 2007

Brookfield Power is wasting little time implementing an incremental increase in power authorized for its 7.46-MW Oswego Falls hydroelectric project in New York. Brookfield and its subsidiary, project operator Erie Boulevard Hydropower L.P., said the increased generation would be on line in 2007.

In October 2006, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certified the project’s proposed incremental hydropower generation for a renewable energy production tax credit under terms of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The credit is 0.9 cent per kilowatt-hour for incremental production resulting from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydro facilities placed into service before January 2008. In December 2006, Congress passed a measure to extend the credit.

FERC already had amended the project license for Oswego Falls in September, approving the upgrade and increasing the project’s installed generating capacity to 7.46 MW from 6.76 MW.

Brookfield said one turbine is to be removed and two new 500-kW turbines, two generators, and control equipment installed in a proposed addition to the powerhouse at the project’s West Development.

For the production tax credit, FERC certified an incremental generation gain of 3,875 megawatt-hours (MWh). The improvements are expected to increase generation by 11.47 percent. The historical generation baseline is 33,780 MWh; generation with improvements will total 37,655 MWh.

Upgrades planned for ten N.Y., Pa. plants

The Oswego Falls West upgrade is part of Brookfield’s “portfolio improvement plan” for modifications and upgrades at ten New York and Pennsylvania projects, pending FERC approval. FERC already certified incremental generation for a number of hydro projects, including Brookfield’s 29.08-MW Piney in Pennsylvania.

In 2006, Brookfield’s vice president of New York operations, David Youlen, said the company approved plans to add a total of 12.1 MW of incremental capacity to eight projects at a cost of $18.4 million to take advantage of the production tax credit.

FERC certifies two projects for production tax credit

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certified incremental hydropower generation at the 3.6-MW Lower LaChute River project in New York and the 4.8-MW Clyde River project in Vermont, making the additional generation at the two hydroelectric projects eligible for federal production tax credits.

LaChute Hydro Co. Inc., operator of the Lower LaChute River project, requested certification for efficiency improvements and additional generation resulting from installation of a replacement horizontal spiral Francis runner manufactured by Norcan Hydraulic Turbines. The unit replaced a horizontal Francis runner manufactured by Barber Waterpower. No change in project operations is anticipated.

FERC issued an order in November 2006, certifying incremental generation of 735.9 megawatt-hours (MWh) and setting the percentage of additional generation due to improvements at 5.17 percent. The project’s historical generation baseline is 14.2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh); generation following improvements will total 14.9 million kWh. The LaChute River project is located in Ticonderoga, N.Y. LaChute Hydro Co., a subsidiary of Enel North America Inc., submitted its application for the project in October.

Great Bay Hydro Corp., licensee for the Clyde River project, requested certification for efficiency improvements it completed in December 2005 at the project near Newport, Vt. Based on the company’s application, FERC certified incremental generation of 3,334 MWh, and placed the percentage of additional generation due to the improvements at 19.71 percent.

Great Bay attributed the increase in incremental average energy production to rebuilding of Newport Unit 3, which had not been operated for five years, and to replacing the hydraulic control system and installing new electronic controls for all three units in the project’s Newport 1, 2, 3 development.

Projects previously receiving FERC certification of incremental hydropower production include: Erie Boulevard Hydropower L.P.’s 7.46-MW Oswego Falls in New York; Duke Power’s 820-MW Keowee-Toxaway in North Carolina and South Carolina; and Brookfield Power’s 29.08-MW Piney in Pennsylvania. PacifiCorp’s 161.338-MW Klamath project in California and Oregon was the first project to be certified.

Reclamation awards gate work at 19.5-MW Headgate Rock

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded an $8 million contract to Alltech Engineering Corp. to perform maintenance and repair of ten radial gates at the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ 19.5-MW Headgate Rock Dam.

Alltech, based in Mendota Heights, Minn., is to rehabilitate gate operating mechanisms, sealing apparatus, and protective coatings, and to perform other work as necessary at the dam, on the Colorado River near Parker.

Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson announced the award Dec. 28, saying the work will repair “wear and tear” and ensure the gates function safely and efficiently for many years. Work is to be completed by April 2009.

Reclamation built Headgate Rock Dam for Bureau of Indian Affairs. The dam diverts water onto Colorado River Indian Tribe lands and provides electricity to the tribe.

U.S. awards $1.8 million weir contract for 980-MW McNary

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $1.8 million contract to Tri-State Metal Fab Inc. to build a temporary spillway weir as a prototype fish bypass structure for the 980-MW McNary project on the Columbia River in Washington.

The Corps said the temporary spillway weir at McNary Lock and Dam would help it develop information for improving downstream passage conditions for juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Columbia. Tri-State, of Spokane, Wash., was scheduled to complete the work in March, followed by biological testing in spring and summer 2007, the Corps said.

“The prototype weir will allow flexibility in testing to help determine the best location and flow to attract juvenile fish to the bypass entrance,” Ken Hansen, the project’s hydraulic engineer, said.

The new weir is different from past weirs the Corps has built, including removable spillway weirs already installed at its 810-MW Lower Granite and 603-MW Ice Harbor dams. A third removable weir, for 810-MW Lower Monumental, is scheduled for delivery and installation in February. That weir is “removable” by controlled descent to the bottom of the dam forebay.

At McNary, the temporary spillway weir is a component of a two-year testing program for acquiring information prior to installation of a more permanent system, the Corps said. The 35-foot-tall, 50-foot-wide steel structure weighs about 250,000 pounds, and can be fitted into any one of McNary’s 22 spill bays to create surface spill.

Juvenile salmon and steelhead using the surface bypass route will pass the dam near the water’s surface, under lower accelerations and lower pressures than otherwise would be possible, providing a more efficient and less stressful route while reducing migration delays at the dam.

Corps awards contract to retrofit Garrison governors

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is retrofitting the governors at its 517.8-MW Garrison Dam power plant, on the Missouri River in Garrison, N.D.

The Corps hired L&S Electric to furnish, install, and test new governor controls, accessories, and digital retrofits for Units 1-5. The $938,850 contract also includes removal and disposal of existing governor mechanical controls. Work is to be completed by September 2007.

Los Angeles buys small hydro capacity from B.C.’s Powerex

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is purchasing 50 MW of renewable energy generated from small hydroelectric plants in the Pacific Northwest from Powerex Corp.

LADWP’s Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved a resolution Nov. 7, 2006, authorizing the power purchase agreement with Powerex, a subsidiary of British Columbia utility BC Hydro. The Canadian power marketer had submitted the proposal in response to LADWP’s 2004 request for renewables.

The agreement provides for the purchase of 438,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually from unnamed small hydro plants in British Columbia and Alberta in Canada and Washington and Oregon in the U.S. Expenditures are not to exceed $196 million over the five-year term of the agreement.

LADWP said the deal would move the city 2 percent closer to its goal of obtaining 20 percent of its retail energy from renewable sources by 2010. LADWP said the agreement would cost the utility about $75 per MWh, or less than $39 million a year in fiscal years 2006-2007 through 2011-2012.

During the first year, LADWP will buy energy from several small hydroelectric projects. In subsequent years, LADWP could receive various types of energy from Powerex, including small hydro, biomass, landfill gas, and wind.

Powerex will deliver the energy to the Nevada-Oregon border. From there, LADWP will ship the energy to Los Angeles via the Pacific DC Intertie, a transmission line that originates in Oregon.

Pennsylvania recognized as ‘green’ power leader

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have named Pennsylvania a winner of the 2006 Green Power Leadership Award in the category of “green” power purchasing.

The state government’s total voluntary purchase of eligible renewable energy totals nearly 80 million kilowatt-hours, ranking it first among state purchasers and 16th on EPA’s national Top 25 list of green power purchasers.

In 2006, the state modified its contract with marketer Community Energy Inc., agreeing to buy renewable energy credits equal to 200,000 megawatt-hours a year, or 20 percent of state government’s electricity, from renewable sources such as hydropower and wind energy. Fifty-eight percent of the 200,000 MWh is to come from hydroelectric generation.

Green Power Leadership Awards were presented in December 2006 during the National Renewable Energy Market Conference in San Francisco. The federal agencies noted Pennsylvania’s purchase of electricity from renewables is integral to the state’s strategy to develop a stable, locally produced clean energy supply.

Brookfield completes upgrades at six N.Y. projects

Brookfield Power announced Jan. 22 it completed more than $2.3 million in non-power facility upgrades and environmental enhancements at six hydropower plants in Oswego County, N.Y.

Four plants are on the Oswego River: 4.5-MW Oswego Falls East, 1.25-MW Fulton, 8-MW Minetto, and 6-MW Varick. Two are on the Salmon River: 30-MW Bennetts Bridge and 9-MW Lighthouse Hill.

Upgrades and enhancements include:

    – Oswego Falls East: Restoration of powerhouse structural brick and tailrace retaining wall and implementation of oil containment measures;
    – Fulton: Installation of 1-inch-spaced trashracks to replace wider-spaced racks, installation of fish passage, and restoration of powerhouse yard retaining wall;
    – Minetto: Installation of a new fish passage structure and oil containment measures;
    – Varick: Installation of upstream American eel passage and an oil containment system;
    – Bennetts Bridge: Concrete resurfacing of the dam; and
    – Lighthouse Hill: Implementation of a substation and a powerhouse oil containment system.
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