FERC approves Montana’s new 58.95-MW Rainbow powerhouse

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved PPL Montana’s plan to build a new 58.95-MW Rainbow hydroelectric plant on the Missouri River as part of the 327.85-MW Missouri-Madison project.

FERC issued an order amending the project license March 26, approving PPL Montana’s plan to construct a new powerhouse with one turbine-generator to replace a 35-MW Rainbow plant. The existing Rainbow plant, which houses eight turbine-generators, will operate until the new powerhouse is completed, and then will be decommissioned.

The new powerhouse will feature a single vertical shaft Kaplan turbine rated at 62 MW connected to a single vertical shaft generator with a nameplate capacity of 58.95 MW. The capacity of the Rainbow development will be 58.95 MW, rather than a proposed 58 MW. Consequently, the total authorized installed capacity for the Missouri-Madison project becomes 327.85 MW, rather than 326.9 MW.

Construction of the proposed improvements to the Rainbow development is scheduled to begin in March 2010, with the start of commercial operation targeted for May 2012.

This project will add renewable energy, enhance river fisheries and help meet the region’s need for new sources of clean, reliable electricity generation,” PPL Montana spokesman David Hoffman said. “It’s part of our commitment to make sound financial investments, while operating our generating plants safely and conserving river resources.

The new larger turbine offers a significantly more fish friendly design than the current turbine configuration, including wider flow passages and fewer rotating surfaces, thereby minimizing fish strikes, and improvements to turbine intake screens, the utility said.

PPL Montana awarded a $37.7 million water-to-wire contract to VA Tech Hydro, now Andritz Hydro, in 2008 to supply, install, and commission the new turbine. (HNN 9/8/08) PPL Montana’s board has authorized $175 million for the new plant.

Plans for a new Rainbow powerhouse were included in PPL Montana’s license to operate Missouri-Madison (No. 2188), an eight-powerhouse project, through August 2040.

Previous articlePakistan seeks consultants for Indus River hydro program
Next articleU.K.’s Aquamarine shelves tidal device to focus on wave energy unit

No posts to display