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Long journey over for BC Hydro turbine

After a year of planning and a 75-day trip over sea and land, a 188-ton turbine ordered by BC Hydro completed its 7,450-mile trek from Brazil to Revelstoke Dam on Canada’s Columbia River.

The 500-MW unit will increase Revelstoke’s generating capacity by 25 percent to 2,480 MW and will provide enough power for 40,000 additional homes during periods of peak demand, the utility said.

The Francis turbine is part of the Revelstoke Unit 5 project, now under construction and scheduled for completion in late 2010.

“This is the first time BC Hydro has moved such a large turbine as a single piece to Revelstoke Generating Station,” said Ken McKenzie, BC Hydro’s project director. “There were a number of obstacles to overcome including navigating sections of rapids on the Columbia River downstream from Trail and transporting the turbine through the approximately 100-meter-long tunnel through the canyon wall along the access road to the powerhouse.”

The turbine, which weighs as much as 32 African elephants, was loaded onto an ocean freighter and shipped to the mouth of the Columbia River. 

From there, it traveled by Barge to Pasco, Washington. The turbine was then loaded onto a long-haul transport trailer and driven around Grand Coulee Dam to Roosevelt Lake. It was then barged up the Columbia River to Arrow Lakes Reservoir, about 31 miles south of the City of Revelstoke. The turbine was then hauled to the generating station about 6.2 miles north of Revelstoke.

Canadian regulators recently rejected BC Hydro’s long-term acquisition plan for renewable energy but approved the company’s proposed expansion of the 1,792-MW Mica hydro project. (HydroWorld 8/10/09)


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