On-Site Small Hydro Project in Hawaii Gets Turbine Upgrades

A 4-MW hydropower project in Hawaii that supplies Kauai Coffee Company’s power generation needs while also providing 6 percent of the island of Kauai’s total power generation recently received a turbine upgrade from GE Energy.

Located on the north shore of Kauai, the Wainiha hydropower plant’s two 1906-era Pelton hydroelectric turbines have been in continuous operation for more than 100 years.

Keeping the old governors running efficiently and correctly became increasingly difficult in recent years, with malfunctions resulting in costly repairs and downtime, reports indicate.

GE Energy’s Control Solutions business upgraded the legacy mechanical control to a Mark Vie digital control with a modern hydraulic pressure unit. Upgrading the legacy control to an electrical interface was accomplished by adding an electro hydraulic interface proportional valve.

The new system automates all of the plant functions and allows for touch screen operator interface, automatic online synchronization and remote monitoring of all associated field devices.

Combined with reduced start-up time, overall power production at the plant increased by 5 to 10 percent. Excess power is sold to the local utility on Kauai.


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