This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
GE Hydro to Upgrade U.S. Hydropower Plants
Many hydroelectric power plants across the United States are aging and in need of refurbishment, and a growing number of hydropower plant owners are choosing to boost their facilities' power production while updating their equipment. This trend is evident at GE Hydro, a unit of GE Power Systems, which recently announced several hydropower turbine refurbishment contracts. On March 10th, GE Hydro won a $47 million contract to refurbish seven turbines at the John H. Kerr Powerhouse in Boydton, Virginia. The project will increase power production by more than 70 megawatts, or roughly 34 percent. On March 24th, the company won a $7 million contract to upgrade two generators at the Jaybird Hydroelectric Powerhouse in northern California. That project will increase power production from 154 megawatts to 170 megawatts, a 10 percent increase. And on April 7th, GE Hydro entered into an agreement with southern California's Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to evaluate and upgrade that utility's hydropower facilities. The IID generates 84 megawatts of power from 14 hydropower units at seven sites along the All American Canal, which runs from Yuma, Arizona, to California's Imperial Valley. See the GE press releases from March 10th (PDF 105 KB), March 24th (PDF 72 KB), and April 7th (PDF 86 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
Meanwhile, concerns about this summer's hydropower production in the Pacific Northwest are gradually easing, as above-average precipitation is bringing snowpack levels and predicted streamflow volumes closer to normal. As noted in the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) "Power Update" for April 18th, snowpack above the Dalles Dam is now at 86 percent of normal, and predicted streamflow volumes through July are at 79 percent of normal. In March, the watershed above the Dallas Dam received 75 percent more precipitation than normal. See the BPA report (PDF 13 KB).