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Reclamation awards contract for turbine overhaul at Palisades Dam hydro plant

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $25 million contract to Andritz Hydro Corporation to overhaul all four hydropower turbines at Palisades Dam, located on the Snake River about 70 miles east of Idaho Falls, Idaho.

The five-year project will rehabilitate all four of the dam's 54-year-old turbines with a new stainless steel runner and other components designed to increase efficiency and power production, USBR reported.

The four-unit power plant has a generating capacity of 176.5 MW.

The contractor will have to build a model of the runner for Reclamation engineers to test prior to installation, USBR said.

Reclamation expects to see a 30 percent increase in the efficiency during the winter season and about a 3.8 percent increase in efficiency in summer. Once the project is completed, Reclamation will only need to run one generator instead of two to produce power during the winter season.

The overhaul is expected to be completed by May 1, 2016.

Palisades Dam was constructed by Reclamation in 1957 as part of the Palisades Project. It is a multipurpose facility that provides irrigation, flood control, hydropower, and recreation.

In other news, The U.S. Department of the Interior has released the results of an internal study that shows the department could generate up to one million megawatt hours of electricity annually and create jobs by adding hydropower capacity at 70 of its existing facilities.

The report estimates that the additional hydropower capabilities could create enough clean, renewable energy to annually power more than 85,000 households.

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