Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced this week that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $102 million construction contract as part of the project to overhaul the generators in the Third Power Plant at Grand Coulee Dam.
The contract was awarded to Andritz Hydro Corporation of Charlotte, N.C. and will be funded by the Bonneville Power Administration -- a regional federal power marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that is self-funded with ratepayer dollars rather than federal taxpayer dollars.
Located on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Wash., the Grand Coulee Dam provides about one-quarter of the total generation of hydroelectric power for the Columbia River System.
“Overhauling the generators in the Third Power Plant is vital to ensuring adequate electric power in the Pacific Northwest,” said Salazar. “This is a great example of not only how the Department of the Interior is working to support clean, renewable energy for the American people but also of how working in partnership with DOE and BPA enables us to do so more efficiently.”
Three of the six generating units in Grand Coulee Dam’s Third Power Plant will be overhauled. These generating units are more than 30 years old, installed in the mid-1970s. The mechanical parts of these units have never been replaced and are beginning to show wear, which reduces reliability and increases power outages.
The generators and turbines will be dismantled and inspected and components will subsequently be either refurbished or replaced and reassembled. Each unit will take 17 months to replace and only one unit at a time will be overhauled. Work begins in March 2013.
Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1941, and today serves as a multi-purpose facility providing water for irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, hydroelectric power production and flood control.