Industry News

Corps awards runner contract for 2,457-MW Chief Joseph

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded an $80.14 million contract to Alstom Hydro U.S. Inc. to manufacture replacement runners for ten of the 16 original turbines at 2,457.3-MW Chief Joseph Dam. The project is on the Columbia River in north central Washington.

The Corps’ Seattle District said that Alstom, of Littleton, Colo., is to supply replacement runners and refurbish vertical Francis-type turbines for ten original units in the total 27-unit project. The units, 5-14, originally were supplied by Newport News Ship Building and Dry Dock Co.

Alstom is to design, model test, manufacture, deliver, install, commission, and test a replacement runner and appurtenances for a Newport News unit. After prototype testing, the company is to fabricate and deliver replacement runners and appurtenances for the remaining nine Newport News units.

While the contract covers only the ten Newport News units, the Corps could exercise an option to replace runners and refurbish wetted surfaces for Chief Joseph’s remaining six original units, Units 1-4, 15, and 16, which were built by S. Morgan Smith Co.

Only two units will be available for runner replacement at the same time. Under one scenario, the first new runner would be installed in 2008 and work on all 16 units would be completed in 2014.

The work is expected to increase Chief Joseph’s overall efficiency of generation, allowing the plant to produce its installed nameplate capacity and increase annual production.

The Corps said several significant changes have affected performance of the original project since it was completed in 1958. Those include deterioration of the runners in 50 years of use, rewinding of the generators in the 1980s, a pool raise, and the addition of Units 17-27 to the powerhouse between 1977 and 1979. Under normal operating conditions, Chief Joseph cannot reach its nameplate capacity of 2,614 MW, the Corps said.

Units 17-27, manufactured by Hitachi, are not involved in the replacement program as they are relatively new, and are designed to operate efficiently under current project conditions.

Chief Joseph is the Corps’ largest hydropower project and the second largest hydro project in the U.S.

Utility names contractor to upgrade 72-MW Box Canyon

Pend Oreille Public Utility District (PUD) awarded a $69 million contract to VA Tech Hydro for replacement runners and other equipment to upgrade the 72-MW Box Canyon project.

The work is to increase capacity by 18 MW at the project, on the Pend Oreille River near Ione, Wash.

The district’s board of commissioners approved the award to VA Tech Hydro, which will replace four original vertical turbine runners with “fish friendly” models expected to allow increased flows to reduce total dissolved gas and benefit fish.

The contract also calls for VA Tech Hydro to rewind generators, replace governors, and upgrade excitation equipment. Turbine and equipment automation capabilities will be added.

The first new turbine is scheduled for installation in 2009 and 2010, followed by one each year for the next three years. All four units are to be commissioned by March 11, 2013, to meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirements.

Once the turbine and generator upgrade program is complete, Box Canyon’s new total installed capacity will be 90 MW.

FERC issued a relicense order for the project in 2005. It later denied the district’s request to stay the new license, despite the PUD’s argument it would lose more than $2 million before it could challenge disputed terms in court.

However, in January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered a stay pending appeal for several conditions of the relicense. The court’s order placed a hold on implementation of fish passage, and trout assessment and restoration work.

The motion for stay contended the relicense order included unreasonable and burdensome conditions. The motion also stated the stay was necessary to avoid irreparable injury to the district, customer Ponderay Newsprint, and the local economy.

Developer ready to construct N.C.’s 4.4-MW Jordan Dam

Developer Hydro Matrix Partnership Ltd. plans to start fabricating equipment for construction of the 4.4-MW Jordan Dam hydroelectric project on the Haw River in North Carolina.

Hydro Matrix Partnership President James Price told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that independent hydro developer North American Hydro has taken a majority stake in Hydro Matrix Partnership and will provide financing for the project, which is to be built at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ B. Everett Jordan Dam in Chatham County.

North American Hydro, which controls 44 hydro plants in the Midwest, said it has the ability internally to finance the project with a construction cost of slightly under $5.2 million. It said U.S. Bank of Milwaukee, Wis., will provide financing for the project on a 20-year amortization with 15 percent equity at a rate of 1.5 plus LIBOR.

Hydro Matrix also asked for permission to amend its hydropower license to replace modules containing 80 100-kW turbine-generators with only two units of 2.2 MW each. The change would reduce project capacity to 4.4 MW from 8 MW.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported the North Carolina Utilities Commission gave its approval to the project July 12. Price said the company expects to start construction by October.

Price told FERC one reason for urgency is to complete the project before the end of 2008 for it to be eligible for production tax credits under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Reclamation names contractor to install control equipment

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $984,358 contract to Koontz Electric Co. Inc. to install unit control modernization equipment for 26 large generating units at 2,078.8-MW Hoover, 255-MW Davis, and 120-MW Parker dams on the Colorado River.

Koontz, of Morrilton, Ark., is to remove and dispose of mechanical and analog control equipment in service for more than a decade at Hoover in Arizona and Nevada, Davis in Arizona, and Parker in California. It then will install unit controls, governor controls, relay protection, and voltage regulators featuring new digital technology, and provide support during commissioning and testing of equipment.

The contracted work is to be completed in 2012, Reclamation said.

The control modernization equipment is being supplied under a $5.7 million fabrication contract Reclamation awarded to L&S Electric Inc., of Schofield, Wis., in October 2006. L&S Electric is to design, manufacture, and commission the new equipment.

Brookfield’s Youlen receives ASCE Rickey Medal

David J. Youlen of Brookfield Power is the newest recipient of the Rickey Medal, a national award presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Energy Division in recognition of meritorious contribution to the science and progress of hydroelectric engineering.

David J. Youlen Click here to enlarge image

Youlen, Brookfield’s senior vice president for North American Generation Development, accepted the award at the 2007 Waterpower Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Youlen has more than 30 years’ experience in the hydro industry. He is active in several industry organizations, including the National Hydropower Association, of which he is past president. Youlen is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering.

The Rickey Medal was established in 1947 to honor James W. Rickey, a leader of hydroelectric engineering progress.

Contactor named to build fish ladder at Yakima dam

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $689,000 contract to MRM Construction Inc. to build a fish ladder at Tieton Diversion Dam, one of eight diversion dams in the government’s 14.9-MW Yakima project.

MRM, of Ellensburg, Wash., will do the work, on the Tieton River 30 miles northwest of Yakima, as part of the Yakima-Tieton Fish Passage Improvements program.

Tieton is a 5-foot-tall concrete structure built in 1908. The Yakima project also features the 12-MW Chandler and 12.9-MW Roza powerhouses.

The fish passage program is intended to enhance passage for bull trout and steelhead, both of which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Reclamation said.

Reservations under way for HydroVision exhibits

HydroVision 2008 will take place July 14-18, 2008, at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif. More than 2,300 registrants representing all interests in hydropower operations and development are expected. A new program track will fo-cus on ocean, tidal, and stream power technologies.

Exhibit space is available for more than 300 companies offering products or services to the hydropower industry. More than 50 percent of this space is already under reservation, said conference organizer HCI Publications.

Companies interested in reserving exhibit space should contact Howard Lutzk at HCI Publications; (1) 816- 931-1311, ext. 109; E-mail: hlutzk@

Brookfield Power purchases 12.1-MW Glens Falls project

Brookfield Power acquired the 12.1-MW Glens Falls hydroelectric project on New York’s Hudson River from Finch Paper LLC.

Glens Falls is a run-of-river project that generates about 60 gigawatt-hours annually. Project power will be sold under long-term contract to Finch Paper’s Glens Falls paper mill.

Outside New York, Brookfield earlier this year signed an agreement to acquire Ford Motor Co.’s 17.92-MW Ford project in St. Paul, Minn. It also purchased partial ownership of SAF Hydroelectric LLC, licensee for the 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony Falls project in Minneapolis.

Crab Creek site could include 392-MW pumped-storage plant

Officials say Washington’s most promising site for a Columbia River Basin off-channel reservoir, at Crab Creek, could support a pumped-storage project of up to 392 MW.

The Bureau of Reclamation and Washington’s Department of Ecology completed an appraisal level study in June, seeking at least one reservoir to improve water supply: for irrigation; for anadromous fish habitat by supplementing Columbia River flows; and for future water consumption needs.

They investigated four off-channel sites – Crab Creek, Sand Hollow, Foster Creek, and Hawk Creek – to determine if one or more should be recommended for investigation at a feasibility level of detail.

The appraisal study found the Crab Creek site to be a potentially viable reservoir location, preferable to either Sand Hollow or Hawk Creek, based on cost and technical feasibility. However, it added, construction at Crab Creek could have significant environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural effects that would need thorough evaluation.

The Crab Creek site is east of the Columbia River between Wanapum and Priest Rapids hydro plants and dams, which make up Grant County Public Utility District’s 1,893-MW Priest Rapids hydroelectric project.

Scenarios propose hydro

The study looked at three scenarios for Crab Creek. The first scenario would feature a 137-foot-tall dam and a 69-MW powerhouse, storing 1 million acre-feet. The second scenario would feature a 199-foot-tall dam and a 216-MW powerhouse, storing 2 million acre-feet. The third scenario would feature a 236-foot-tall dam and 392-MW powerhouse, storing 3 million acre-feet.

Transmission facilities would be required to deliver power to the large reversible pump-turbines that would lift water from the Columbia River into Crab Creek Reservoir. The study said the same transmission facilities would deliver electricity generated when water is released through the pump-turbines back into the Columbia River.

Appraisal level studies are brief preliminary investigations to determine the desirability of proceeding to a more detailed feasibility study. They generally rely on existing information to develop plans for meeting current and projected needs and for solving problems in planning areas.

Reclamation, Ecology, and Columbia Basin irrigation districts will review the study report and consult with stakeholders, agencies, and other entities. Based upon that review and consultation, officials are to decide whether to seek congressional authorization and funding for a feasibility study and environmental impact statement of the Crab Creek site.

Ninty-nine Islands certified for production tax credits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certified incremental generation at the 18-MW Ninety-nine Islands hydroelectric project in South Carolina. Certification makes the project eligible for renewable energy production tax credits.

Duke Energy Carolinas LLC requested certification, citing increased efficiency from upgrades to turbine-generators completed in March.

Based on information provided by Duke, FERC’s order certifies a historical average annual generation baseline of 68.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh), generation with improvements of 74.668 GWh, and incremental generation of 5.868 GWh. FERC said the percentage of generation due to improvements was 8.53 percent.

Section 1301 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 applies the tax credit to incremental production from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydroelectric facilities placed into service after Aug. 8, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2009.

Fire damage at Detroit Dam pegged at $4 million

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it could cost more than $4 million to replace equipment damaged in an electrical fire at its 100-MW Detroit Dam powerhouse on Oregon’s North Santiam River.

The Corps said it determined the cause of the fire to be phase-to-phase arcing that occurred in Unit 2 bus work, ancillary equipment used for the electrical connection from the generator to the step-up transformer. An arcing fault is a high power discharge of electricity between two or more conductors.

No injuries were reported in the June 19 fire, which broke out on the lower level of the powerhouse. While neither of the project’s two turbine-generators was damaged, both will remain off line indefinitely. Unit 1 already was off line for maintenance at the time of the fire, the Corps said.

The Corps also shut down the 20-MW Big Cliff powerhouse, on the North Santiam River about three miles downstream. While Big Cliff was not damaged in the fire, its systems are connected to the Detroit powerhouse, which in turn is connected to a Bonneville Power Administration substation.

Detroit and Big Cliff dams are among 13 multi-purpose dams operated by the Corps in the Willamette Valley. Detroit’s 463-foot-tall, 1,523-foot-long concrete gravity structure stores water for generation, flood control, irrigation, recreation, navigation, and downstream water quality improvement.

Stevens Water opens new head office, facility

Stevens Water Monitoring Systems Inc. opened a new head office and manufacturing facility in Portland, Ore. Stevens is a designer and manufacturer of equipment and systems for monitoring, collection, analysis, and control of water.

The new office is located near the Portland International Airport. The company’s previous office was in Beaverton, Ore.

Rancho Pensaquitos receives outstanding project award

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ San Diego section named the San Diego County Water Authority’s new 4.5-MW Rancho Pensaquitos Pressure Control and Hydroelectric Facility an outstanding project.

The award was one of eight presented. The award recognizes projects that demonstrate great engineering skills and represent a large contribution to civil engineering progress and mankind.

Recipients were the water authority and Black & Veatch, which performed engineering work on the project.

Rancho Pensaquitos began operating in January 2007. It is part of an extensive water distribution system owned and operated by the water authority. It is located along an aqueduct and is connected to a 108-inch-diameter untreated water pipeline.

The facility enables the water authority to pressurize a 22-mile-long section of pipeline between San Marcos and Mira Mesa, and to allow the pipeline to transport water either north or south, rather than from north to south only.

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