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Alstom Renewable to replace turbines at 980MW McNary Dam hydro project in US

EBR Staff Writer Published 26 March 2018

Alstom Renewable US, a unit of General Electric, has been awarded $321.3m contract by the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District to design, manufacture and install 14 turbines at the 980MW McNary Lock and Dam, near Umatilla, Oregon.

The contract follows three years of research, planning, design and acquisition to replace the existing turbine runners and associated ancillary equipment at the McNary Dam hydro project.

The McNary Dam is a multi-purpose project commissioned in 1954. The dam comprises a powerhouse consisting of fourteen 70,000kW hydroelectric generator units.

At full capacity, powerhouse of the McNary is designed to supply electricity required to power for about 686,000 homes.

The contract is part of the re-capitalization and modernization effort at the dam to increase fish survival, hydraulic capacity, turbine efficiency operational flexibility as well as improve turbine operations reliability.

Walla Walla District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Damon Delarosa said: “The re-capitalization effort at McNary Lock and Dam is one of my top priorities for 2018. The team responsible for reaching this milestone spanned multiple federal agencies; their professionalism and dedication were evident in all they have accomplished to date and I'm sure will continue as they begin the design efforts for the new turbines.

“Once completed, the improvements recognized from this project for reliability, operational flexibility and fish passage will be substantial and measurable. We look forward to working with Alstom Renewable Energy on this critical infrastructure effort in the coming months and years.”

The 14 main unit turbines at the dam are expected to continue operations on average for another seven years and until the new turbines are installed.

US Army Corps project manager Shawn Nelson said:  “Alstom will work collaboratively with the Corps of Engineers through an iterative design process to develop the new runners and associated equipment.

“Engineers and biologists from the Walla Walla District, the Corps of Engineer’s Hydro-Electric Design Center (HDC) in Portland, Oregon, and the Corps’s Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi, will support this design process, progressing from computer-based models to physical modeling.”

Alstom will install the two turbine components at a time over the course of seven to eight years at the dam. Work under the contract is planned to be completed in approximately 14 years.

Image: The McNary Lock and Dam located near Umatilla, Oregon, US. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.