Industry News

MWH to design projects totaling 191 MW on Ohio River

American Municipal Power-Ohio Inc. (AMP-Ohio) says MWH will provide engineering design services during development of the 35-MW Willow Island, 72-MW Smithland, and 84-MW Cannelton projects on the Ohio River.

MWH will be responsible for: powerhouse design; preparation of specifications for turbine-generator equipment, cofferdam, and general construction; concrete structures; mechanical and electrical systems; transmission lines; and balance of plant.

AMP-Ohio said MWH will take the projects through construction, including design engineering, engineering during construction, and resident engineering.

AMP-Ohio, which represents 119 municipal utilities in five states, is developing Willow Island as an agent for the city of New Martinsville, W.Va. The city is an AMP-Ohio member.

AMP-Ohio is developing the other two projects, Smithland and Cannelton, for itself. AMP-Ohio already operates the 42-MW Belleville project on the Ohio in West Virginia.

Developer studies 2,000-MW Sentinel Mountain

United Power Corp. of Monmouth, Ore., is studying the feasibility of developing the 2,000-MW Sentinel Mountain pumped-storage project on Crab Creek and Moses Lake in Washington.

United Power is conducting the study under terms of a three-year preliminary permit issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The permit expires March 31, 2010.

Sentinel Mountain would include two new dams, an upper and lower reservoir, and two powerhouses containing four units. The project would be expected to generate about 2,628 gigawatt-hours annually, for sale to a local utility.

Washington utility district proposes 84-MW Shanker’s Bend

Okanogan County Public Utility District is pursuing plans to develop 84-MW Shanker’s Bend. Development could include building a 260-foot-tall dam on the Similkameen River.

The district filed a preliminary permit application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposing to study various options for the water storage and hydro project. Those options include dam heights ranging from 90 to 260 feet. At 260 feet, the dam would be about 1,200 feet long and impound an 18,000-acre reservoir with a storage capacity of 1.7 million acre-feet. About half of the reservoir would be in Canada.

From time to time since 1948, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the International Joint Commission, and the district have studied the project. In the 1980s, the PUD obtained a preliminary permit that subsequently expired.

District prepares application for 8.6-MW Enloe Dam

Okanogan PUD also is preparing a draft license application to restore a small hydroelectric project at Enloe Dam. The 57-foot-tall, 315-foot-long concrete arch gravity dam is located just downstream of Shanker’s Bend.

The district said it anticipates filing the draft application late this year or in early 2008. The site is located 3.5 miles northwest of Oroville, Wash. The 8.6-MW project would feature new construction on a river bank upstream of Similkameen Falls.

Developer renews plan for Mount Hope pumped-storage

The former licensee for the 2,000-MW Mount Hope pumped-storage project renewed plans to develop the project at an inactive mine in New Jersey, but on a smaller scale.

Mt. Hope Waterpower Project LP filed a new application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking for a preliminary permit to study a 1,000-MW project. FERC issued notice of the application in April.

Mount Hope proposes to use water from the Mt. Hope Mine Complex in Rockaway Township of Morris County, N.J. The project would consist of four 250-MW developments, each with a powerhouse and an upper and lower reservoir.

The applicant said the project would be built in four stages. Each powerhouse would feature one reversible pump-turbine. Once all stages are complete, the project would be expected to generate up to 2,080 gigawatt-hours annually.

FERC rescinded a license for the original project in 2005, saying construction did not begin in a timely manner.

Utility pursues development for 30.2-MW Cle Elum

Grant County Public Utility District said it plans to apply for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license to construct and operate the 30.2-MW Cle Elum hydroelectric project in Washington.

The new power plant would be built at an earthfill dam operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation on the Cle Elum River 10 miles northwest of Cle Elum.

FERC granted the district a three-year preliminary permit to study the project in January. The permit expires at the end of December 2009.

Hydro Green Energy studies four Mississippi projects

Hydro Green Energy LLC is investigating development of four hydropower projects in Mississippi that would use a combination of conventional and hydrokinetic technologies to generate more than 96 MW.

Hydro Green Energy said the projects would be located at existing dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and would include conventional hydro turbines, plus multiple hydrokinetic turbines in dam outlet channels.

The projects are:

– 47.33-MW Mississippi 1, with two powerhouses, at Sardis Dam on the Tallahatchie River;

– 20.746-MW Mississippi 2 at Enid Dam on the Yacona River, a tributary of the Tallahatchie;

– 24.038-MW Mississippi 3 at Grenada Dam on the Yalobusha River; and

– 3.962-MW Mississippi 5 at Arkabutla Dam on the Yazoo River.

Hydro Green Energy, a project developer and equipment manufacturer based in Houston, Texas, said the projects would be the first water energy projects in Mississippi.

Hydro Green Energy designs, builds, and operates hydrokinetic energy systems that can be deployed in rivers, tidal areas, and oceans. The systems generate electricity from moving water without a need to construct dams, impoundments, or conduits.

Corps rehab project boosts Hartwell capacity to 422 MW

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a $33 million refurbishment of the Hartwell project on the Savannah River in Georgia. The refurbishment increased the facility’s capacity 78 MW to a total of 422 MW.

Congress provided initial funding for the refurbishment and upgrade in 1995, with on-site work beginning in 1997.

Four of Hartwell’s five generators were refurbished, increasing the output of each to 85.5 MW from 66 MW; a fifth generator rated at 80 MW did not require refurbishment. Turbine work also was included in the upgrade.

In addition to the generator rewinding, electrical and mechanical peripheral equipment was replaced. Generator circuit breakers, mechanical governor controls, exciters, and switchyard circuit breakers were replaced. As for the turbines, weld cracks and cavitation damage to runners were addressed. Lead-based paint in the turbine scroll case area was removed. New head gates, draft tube gates, and stop logs were fabricated, and an oil-water separator was installed for environmental compliance.

The Corps said National Electric Coil rewound the generators and was prime contractor for refurbishing the turbines. East Coast Management Inc. was a subcontractor to National Electric Coil for turbine work.

Other contractors included: ABB, transformer and generator breaker supply; J.L. Malone, installation of transformers and generator breakers; NESI and Areva, switchyard breaker supply; and Webb Erection Inc., switchyard upgrade. Cutler Hammer and Maddux Supply Co. provided and installed exciters. Voith Siemens handled governor replacement. The Tennessee Valley Authority provided new head gates, draft tube gates, and stop logs.

California approves purchase of renewables by PG&E

The California Public Utilities Commission approved Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s (PG&E) purchase of renewable energy from the 1-MW Georgetown Divide PUD Conduit hydroelectric project.

The contract was secured under PG&E’s renewable energy procurement program to meet the requirements of the state’s renewables portfolio standard. The renewables portfolio standard law requires 20 percent of investor-owned utilities’ power to come from renewable sources by 2010.

With the contract in place, Georgetown Divide Public Utility District will reactivate the project. The project consists of two developments: 600-kW Tunnel Hill and 400-kW Buckeye. Developer Henwood Associates Inc. is to reinstall equipment.

New York restarts Unit 2 of 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has returned to service the first unit it overhauled in a modernization program of the 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage project.

Unit 2, which restarted over Memorial Day weekend, was the first unit refurbished in a four-year, $135 million program that began in September 2006 to modernize and extend the life of the project.

Initial work on each unit requires that the water level in the project’s upper reservoir be lowered each fall, using cofferdams, to permit replacement of the spherical valves that control the flow of water into the powerhouse. NYPA first shut down all four units in September 2006 to prepare for Unit 2 work, and returned the other units to service two months later.

NYPA plans to shut down Unit 1 for its overhaul in September. As was the case in 2006, the power authority plans to shut the entire station for part of October and November 2007 to lower the water level of the upper reservoir to prepare for work on the unit. NYPA plans to return Unit 1 to service in May 2008.

The modernization schedule calls for similar work on the other two units –- Units 3 and 4 – to be repeated in fall 2008 and 2009. NYPA expects to complete the overhaul program in May 2010.

The overhaul program includes replacement of major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to most other parts. Following overhauls, each unit will have a capacity of 290 MW.

Five hydro organizations endorse HydroVision 2008

The HydroVision 2008 Conference and Exhibition, planned for July 14-18, 2008, in Sacramento, Calif., received endorsements from five leading organizations.

The organizations, official sponsors of the event, are the: International Hydropower Association, International Commission on Large Dams, U.S. Hydropower Council for International Development, National Hydropower Association in the U.S., and Canadian Hydropower Association.

Additional sponsors are Hydro Review, the only magazine dedicated exclusively to the North American hydroelectric industry, and HRW, the world’s most widely read hydro magazine. Both magazines are published by HCI Publications, which owns and organizes the HydroVision conference series.

The HydroVision conference offers a forum for hydro professionals to explore new ideas, refine strategies, and overcome obstacles. Educational opportunities include panel discussions, technical paper presentations, and poster gallery sessions. In addition, an exhibit hall gives conference delegates access to companies and organizations from throughout the world that will share their latest information, techniques, products, and ideas.

Conference information is on the Internet at; click on the HydroVision link.

Alcoa to upgrade 216-MW Yadkin over 16 years

Alcoa Power Generating Inc. is spending $141 million over 16 years to modernize four powerhouses comprising the 216.38-MW Yadkin project in North Carolina.

Alcoa says it is upgrading the project’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system as well as conducting the following work at each powerhouse:

– High Rock: substation upgrades, including new transformers; turbine modeling for new runners with additional capacity and life extension of other water path components; generator rewinds, dissolved oxygen enhancements via “through-the-blade” atmospheric air admission; new switchgear, governors, and controls; and, if required, powerhouse crane refurbishment;

– Tuckertown: substation upgrades, including new transformers; generator rewinds; turbine modeling for new runners with additional capacity; and new switchgear, governors, and controls;

– Narrows: substation upgrades including new transformers; new runners with additional capacity and life extension of other water path components; dissolved oxygen enhancements via atmospheric air admission in the draft tube cone; new governors and controls; and powerhouse crane refurbishment; and

– Falls: substation upgrades; generator rewinds; turbine modeling for new runners with additional capacity and life extension of other water path components; new switchgear, governors, and controls; and, if required, powerhouse crane refurbishment.

Alcoa’s Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Management alliance partner Fluor is project manager. Alcoa holds a partnership agreement with Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation Inc. for engineering, design, and installation of work “inside the barrel.” ABB is supplying and installing the new transformers.

Corps awards contract for John Day runner parts

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $600,178 contract to Waite Specialty Machine Works Inc. of Longview, Wash., to supply internal parts for the turbine runner in Unit 16 at 2,160-MW John Day Dam.

Work for the project, on the Columbia River in Oregon, includes casting and rough machining of bronze bushings, and applying self-lubricating material to the bushings. The firm fixed-price contract also covers fabricating and final machining of steel parts. The steel parts are forgings, structural steel, castings, and specialty steel.

Utility awards Priest Rapids runner design contract

Grant County Public Utility District said it would award a $128,000 contract to an independent laboratory based in Austria to design and manufacture model runners for 907-MW Priest Rapids Dam.

Grant County PUD commissioners authorized the district to execute a contract with Anstalt fuer Stroemungsmaschinen GmbH (ASTROE) of Graz, Austria. The contractor will perform the work as part of a program to upgrade turbines at Priest Rapids powerhouse.

The powerhouse is one of two power plants in the 1,893-MW Priest Rapids project on the Columbia River in Washington.

Brookfield Power buys historic Ford project

Brookfield Power is purchasing Ford Motor Co.’s 17.92-MW Ford hydroelectric project in St. Paul, Minn., on the Mississippi River.

The project provides electricity to Ford’s Ranger truck assembly plant, scheduled to close in 2008. Ford sells excess electricity to Xcel Energy. The hydro plant generates about 100 gigawatt-hours annually.

The project, previously known as Twin Cities, features a dam and power plant. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the dam in 1917 in anticipation of hydropower. Ford completed the hydro plant in 1924 at a cost of about $1 million.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a 30-year relicense for continued project operation in 2004.

Brookfield Power said its purchase is conditioned on approvals of regulatory agencies, which the company expects will be forthcoming by year’s end.

Alliance Energy Renewables buys three New York projects

Alliance Energy Renewables LLC acquired Mirant NY-Gen LLC, including its three hydroelectric projects, for $5.1 million.

The acquisition followed Mirant’s reorganization under bankruptcy protection. Plants include the 11.75-MW Swinging Bridge, 4-MW Mongaup, and 10-MW Rio hydro projects and natural gas-fired plants totaling 95 MW.

The announcement made no mention of restoring hydropower generation at Swinging Bridge, where discovery of a sinkhole in the crest of a dam in May 2005 led to an emergency shutdown of the project and a 45-foot drawdown of its reservoir. Mirant proposed repairing the dam, filling the project’s penstocks with concrete, and refilling the reservoir for hundreds of lakefront homes and for recreational users.

Alliance Energy Renewables LLC, a subsidiary of Alliance Energy Inc., acquired Mirant N.Y.-Gen LLC and all its properties from Mirant New York Inc. As the licenses for the hydropower facilities will remain with Mirant N.Y.-Gen, applications to transfer licenses to operate the projects are not required. Mirant NY-Gen plans to change its name to AER NY-Gen LLC.

URS Corp. to acquire Washington Group

Construction services company URS Corp. announced it would acquire Washington Group International Inc. for about $2.3 billion to expand into the engineering and management of nuclear, infrastructure, and environmental projects.

Both companies have dam and power construction work in their pedigrees. Most notably, Washington Group’s founding company, Morrison-Knudsen, was a key member of the consortium that built 2,078.8-MW Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

Under terms of the deal, Washington Group shareholders would receive $43.80 in cash and 0.772 share of URS common stock for each Washington Group share they own. That values Washington Group at about $80 per share, or $2.3 billion based on Washington Group’s 29.2 million shares outstanding.

Together, the companies would have 2007 revenues of about $8.6 billion, projects in more than 50 countries, and more than 54,000 employees.

The combined company is to be called URS Corp., and be headed by URS Chairman and Chief Executive Martin Koffel. The deal was expected to close in the second half of 2007, pending approval by Washington Group and URS shareholders, and regulators.

The San Francisco-based URS said it has commitments from Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley to provide debt financing for the deal. Morgan Stanley and UBS AG advised URS on the deal, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised the Boise, Idaho-based Washington Group.

Navigant Consulting acquires HJA Consulting

Navigant Consulting Inc. acquired HJA Consulting, a provider of performance benchmarking and performance improvement studies available to utilities that own hydroelectric facilities.

Navigant Consulting said the acquisition enhances its energy practice, which provides Generation Knowledge System benchmarking and performance improvement services.

HJA Consulting has provided benchmarking and performance improvement information to hydro plant owners since 1994. Clients have used its Hydro Benchmarking Program to identify areas for improvement and to better align operations with their organization’s strategic direction. More than 350 stations, representing more than 80 percent of North American hydro capacity, have been benchmarked since the program’s inception.

Chuck Haddon, founder of HJA Consulting, was appointed a managing director of Navigant Consulting.

Kingsbury Inc. built a new bearing repair and service facility in Yuba City, Calif., to serve the western U.S. Click here to enlarge image

Navigant Consulting, a consulting firm that provides dispute, financial, regulatory, and operational advisory services, announced the acquisition in February.

Garlock Klozure acquires Syntron Mechanical Seal Line

Garlock Klozure acquired the Syntron RP mechanical seal line from FMC Technologies Inc.

The Syntron RP is used to seal fluids on rotating equipment, such as pumps.

Garlock Klozure is a division of Garlock Sealing Technologies. Garlock Sealing Technologies, an EnPro Industries company based in Palmyra, N.Y., designs, manufactures, and sells fluid sealing products.

Bearing manufacturer opens facility in California

Kingsbury Inc., a manufacturer of babbitted bearings, has opened a bearing repair and service facility in Yuba City, Calif., near Sacramento.

Babbitted bearings, also called “fluid film” bearings, are used in the hydroelectric industry and in other industries.

Kingsbury is headquartered in Hatboro, Pa. The company cited Yuba City’s location near many hydroelectric plants in northern California as a principal reason for its decision to choose that community for a western U.S. service facility.

The Yuba City facility will provide repair and service of all types of babbitted fluid film bearings; bearing upgrades such as high pressure lift systems, load cells, and spring plate retrofits; and 24/7 emergency service.

AIG Global launches practice for alternative energies

AIG Global Marine and Energy formed the AIG Global Alternative Energy Practice to provide insurance, risk management, and loss control services to U.S.-based organizations involved in hydroelectric generation and other alternative energies.

The new practice is led by Rick Gibbons, executive vice president of AIG Global Marine and Energy.

AIG Global Marine and Energy is a division of the property and casualty insurance subsidiaries of American International Group Inc. American International Group is a provider of insurance and financial services, and operates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions.

Lineberger receives James B. Duke award

Duke Energy named Jeff Lineberger, manager of hydroelectric licensing activities, a recipient of its first James B. Duke award. The award is Duke Energy’s highest employee recognition for services to the company and community.

Lineberger, based in Charlotte, N.C., led the licensing effort for the Cataw ba-Wateree hydro project. That effort reached out to 85 stakeholder groups in the region.

Lineberger attended nearly 300 stakeholder meetings, soliciting input to create a fair and sustainable balance of interests, the company said.

Based on that effort, 70 of 85 stakeholder groups signed a relicensing settlement agreement filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Duke Energy anticipates the relicense for continued project operation will be issued in 2008.

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