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Rainbow hydro plant expansion project passes halfway point

The expansion of PPL Montana’s Rainbow hydroelectric plant in Montana is more than 60 percent complete and on schedule, despite the record rainfall this spring and continuing high flows on the Missouri River, PPL reported.

“Crews working at the construction site recently embedded all of the major turbine components in concrete, a key milestone in the $230 million expansion project at Rainbow,” said Pete Simonich, vice president and chief operating officer of PPL Montana.

“Our netxt milestone is the completion of the powerhouse, which is expected in late summer.”

The entire project is expected to be completed in 2012.

With a single 62-MW unit in the new powerhouse, PPL Montana will increase by 70 percent the amount of clean, renewable power it generates at its Rainbow facility.

Smaller units, installed between 1909 and 1930 with a combined capacity of 35 MW, are being replaced with the single unit that can generate enough electricity to power about 45,000 homes.

Since the start of the project in the fall of 2009, the Rainbow redevelopment has created hundreds of local construction jobs and boosted the local economy, PPL said.

FERC licenses expansion, receives exemption application

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensed a Wisconsin hydro project, approved its expansion, and received a conduit exemption application for a project in Hawaii during the month of May.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for May 2011, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, said FERC relicensed the 9.4-MW Badger-Rapide Croche project.

The project comprises two developments at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Kaukauna and Rapide Croche dams on the Fox River in Outagamie County, Wis.

The new license authorized the licensee, the City of Kaukauna, Wis., to decommission the old Badger powerhouse at Kaukauna Dam and construct a new hydro powerhouse, increasing the project’s installed capacity from 8 MW.

Also during May, FERC issued a license amendment increasing capacity by 1.8 MW and a conduit exemption of 1.3 MW.

Firm provides replacements for wire rope assemblies

Houston Structures Inc., a member of the Oregon-based Ulven Companies, announced it successfully completed a contract from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide tainter gate wire rope assembly replacements for 11 dams in Oklahoma and Kansas.

The $2.96 million contract, awarded through the Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa District, was fully funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Ten of the dams included in the contract are in Oklahoma, with one in Kansas. Some of the dams include hydroelectric power plants.

Seven-hundred-seventy-six cable assemblies, about 55,000 feet of stainless steel wire rope and nearly 1,550 sockets all were produced on the Ulven Companies contract to fulfill the needs of the rehabilitated tainter gates, Ulven officials reported.

All the cast sockets for the project came from Ulven unit Wolf Steel and were machined by Ulven Forging, Severson said.

All of the wire rope was produced at Pomfret, Connecticut-based Loos & Co. Inc., a firm that manufactures a variety of wire, aircraft cable and wire rope for use in a range of applications.

Pre-stretching, load testing and cable assembly was completed by Clackamas Oregon’s Cascade Rigging Inc. In addition to assisting in fabrication of wire rope assemblies, Cascade also is a wholesale supplier of wire rope, rigging and related hardware.

Bison Pipe & Supply announces opening

Don Karchmer, president of International Pipe & Supply in Oklahoma City, Okla., purchased the assets of Liberty Rocky Mountain Pipe in Jerome, Idaho, to form Bison Pipe & Supply with the help of Darren Sparks, former president of Liberty Rocky Mountain Pipe.

The people, products and place are the same as the former company. Darren Sparks is the president of Bison Pipe & Supply. Shane Herald is the manager and Thomas Carroll is in charge of production and sales.

Karchmer was looking to expand opportunities in the Northwest when he teamed with Sparks to create Bison Pipe & Supply; thus, expanding their ability to serve the West, Northwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

FERC questions ancillary services, storage technology policies

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments how to improve competition in markets for ancillary services and how to remove barriers to expanded use of electricity storage technologies.

“The NOI asks some key questions that involve the development of vibrant markets for ancillary services, not just for storage resources, but for all potential providers of ancillary services,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said upon issuance of the notice (RM11-24) on June 16. “In particular, the NOI asks whether the Avista policy should be modified to allow greater competition in the provision of ancillary services.”

In the 1999 Avista Corp. case, FERC prohibited third-party market-based sales of ancillary services to transmission providers without a market study showing the seller lacks monopoly market power.

Ancillary services, such as voltage regulation, spinning reserves, frequency regulation, and black-start capability, can be provided by hydropower, as well as electricity storage provided by pumped-storage plants. FERC said it has established methods of accounting, reporting, and rate recovery for pumped-storage plants and is not seeking comments on revising pumped-storage accounting and reporting.

U.S. awards outlet pipe coating contract for Shadehill Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded Washington-based Long Painting Company a contract for coating repair of a 72-inch steel outlet pipe at Shadehill Dam near Lemmon, South Dakota.

Shadehill Dam, part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, is a rolled earthfill structure with a crest length of 12,843 feet and a maximum height of 145 feet.

It provides flood control, fish and wildlife conservation, recreation and silt detention.

Reclamation seeks removal and replacement of about 135 square feet of damaged coatings on the exterior of 72-inch-diameter steel pipe and repair of about 6,075 square feet of damaged coating on the interior of 72-inch-diameter steel pipe. The contract is valued at $273,798.

FERC certifies production tax credits for three hydro projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certified incremental generation at three hydroelectric projects in four states for renewable energy production tax credits.

Three separate upgrades certified at 44.5-MW Rumford Falls

FERC certified or recertified incremental generation resulting from three separate upgrades at the 44.5-MW Rumford Falls hydroelectric project in Maine.

FERC previously certified incremental generation at the project in 2008 for upgrades to runners of both turbines at 15.2-MW Lower Station, one of two powerhouses at Rumford Falls.

Lower Station began operating in 1954 on the Androscoggin River. The other powerhouse was put into service in 1903.

FERC certifies/recertifies three upgrades at 721-MW Clark Fork

FERC certified or recertified for production tax credits the incremental generation resulting from three separate upgrades at the 721-MW Clark Fork project on the Clark Fork River in Idaho and Montana.

FERC found discrepancies in different modeling programs for the project while reviewing a request by licensee Avista Utilities to certify incremental generation from runner replacement on Unit 3 at Clark Fork’s 456-MW Noxon Rapids development in Montana.

FERC staff found discrepancies in the project’s baseline generation from previously issued certifications for improvements due to replacement of Noxon Rapids Unit 1 and of Unit 4 of Clark Fork’s 265-MW Cabinet Gorge development.

Runner upgrade wins certification of New York’s 36-MW Stewarts Bridge

FERC approved a request by Erie Boulevard Hydropower L.P. to certify incremental generation resulting from a turbine runner upgrade at the 36-MW Stewarts Bridge hydroelectric project on the Sacandaga River in New York.

FERC certified Stewarts Bridge’s annual historical baseline generation of 116,232 MWh and incremental generation of 12,220 MWh, or a 10.5 percent increase, for a new annual generation of 128,452 MWh.

Corps awards contracts for hydro projects in Oklahoma

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract to Pennsylvania-based American Governor Company to retrofit governor systems at the 100-MW Broken Bow and 70-MW Keystone hydroelectric projects in Oklahoma.

The Tulsa District seeks design, manufacture, testing, delivery and installation supervision to convert cabinet actuators to digitally controlled electro-hydraulic speed governing systems at Broken Bow on the Mountain Fork River and Keystone on the Arkansas River. The contract is valued at $417,938.

AMEC rebrands business unit

International engineering and project management company AMEC announced it rebranded the Earth & Environmental business unit to Environment & Infrastructure to better reflect the services and scope of the current business and its global growth strategy.

This follows AMEC’s acquisition of MACTEC, which adds 2,600 people and 70 offices to E&I’s U.S. presence.

AMEC agreed to buy MACTEC, a leading engineering and environmental services company, for US$280 million.

Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the E&I business unit is made up of more than 7,000 employees worldwide, and is led by President Dr. Hisham Mahmoud.

U.S. awards HCMS cavitation repair contract at Lower Granite dam

Hydro Consulting & Maintenance Services Incorporated was awarded a contract for cavitation repair at the Lower Granite dam and hydro project.

The 810-MW Lower Granite dam and hydroelectric project is on the Snake River in Washington.

The cavitation repair contract, awarded to HCMS by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is valued at $4.62 million.

The HCMS contract covers cavitation repair of units 3-6.

Construction of Lower Granite began in July 1965. The main structure and three generators were completed in 1972, with an additional three generators finished in 1979.

Lower Granite Dam is part of the Columbia River Basin system of dams.

JV wins contract for replacement of Calaveras Dam

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has awarded a US$259 million contract to a joint venture of Dragados USA, Hochtief group Flatiron and Sukut Construction for replacement of Calaveras Dam in California.

The split of the work on the Calaveras Dam will be 40 percent Dragados, 30 percent Flatiron and 30 percent Sukut Construction.

The new dam will be constructed immediately downstream of the existing dam. Project completion is anticipated in late 2015.

The project includes replacement of the original dam with a new 64-meter-high earth and rock fill dam. There will also be a new concrete spillway.

St. Lawrence-FDR refurbishing project in final stages

The New York Power Authority entered the final stages of its Life Extension and Modernization Program at the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric power project.

NYPA completed work on the 14th of 16 turbine-generators to undergo refurbishing as part of a $281 million initiative.

“The Life Extension and Modernization Program at the St. Lawrence-FDR project is truly indicative of our dedication to the efficiency and continuing operation of this vital generating facility,” said Michael J. Townsend, chair of the NYPA Board of Trustees. “The completion of the 14th turbine-generator keeps us on track to complete the overall initiative by 2013.”

The Power Authority undertook the St. Lawrence LEM program to replace or renovate the original major generating equipment in the power project and improve the overall performance flexibility and efficiency of the facility, which has operated continuously since 1958.

Alstom Hydro was awarded two independent contracts to manufacture all 16 replacement turbines.

PI Bearing Technologies acquired by EnPro Industries

EnPro Industries Inc. acquired PI Bearing Technologies, a producer of self-lubricating metal-polymer bearings, aluminum bearing blocks and alloy bushings.

Based in Waukegan, Ill., the company will be managed as part of EnPro’s GGB Bearing Technology business unit.

PI Bearing Technology manufactures steel-backed, resin and alloy-coated bearings for dry, boundary and fully lubricated applications in many industries, including hydropower. In addition, the company specializes in the production of precision aluminum bearing blocks and wear plates for manufacturers of gear pumps and motors.

“Growing demand for high performance bearings for fluid power applications prompted us to expand our offerings in this important segment, which is currently being served by our facility in Dieuze, France,” said GGB President Ken Walker. “By combining GGB’s engineering capabilities and global presence with PI’s production capacity, we will be able to provide customers of both companies significant benefits.”

GGB Bearing Technology, formerly Glacier Garlock Bearings, has production facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia and a global distribution network. The company provides customers throughout the world with bearings for a range of applications.

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