American Hydro to modernize two units at 142-MW Keokuk Hydroelectric plant

American Hydro, part of Wärtsilä Corporation, has been awarded a contract to perform rehabilitation services and complete the upgrade and refurbishment of the Unit 5 and 15 turbines at Ameren’s 142-MW Keokuk Hydroelectric plant in Iowa, U.S.

American Hydro designed, manufactured and delivered new 200-inch, 120,000-pound Francis-type runners for these units under a previous contract. The new contract includes all field labor and supervision to conduct a simultaneous two-unit outage, disassembly of the major turbine and generator components, shop and field rehabilitation and machining, installation of the new runners and refurbished turbine components, and commissioning of the turbines.

The Keokuk hydroelectric plant was commissioned in 1913 and has been in continuous operation with the original equipment since that time. It is the largest privately owned and operated dam and hydroelectric generating plant on the Mississippi River. The plant is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as Lock and Dam No. 19.

“For more than 100 years, the Keokuk Energy Center has provided clean, carbon-free energy to customers. Its continued safe, efficient operation is foundational to Ameren’s net-zero carbon emissions goal,” said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at Ameren Missouri.

Engineering and planning are under way, and the outages are scheduled to start this fall and finish in the spring of 2021. Upon completion of this work, American Hydro will have upgraded all 15 turbines at the Keokuk plant.

“This contract represents the culmination of a 20-year partnership to upgrade the Keokuk hydroelectric plant. We appreciate the trust Ameren has placed in American Hydro throughout this process,” said Gerry Russell, vice president of American Hydro.

Ameren Corporation is based in St. Louis, serving 2.4 million electric and 900,000 natural gas customers across 64,000 square miles in central and eastern Missouri and the southern four-fifths of Illinois.

Wärtsilä provides smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasizing sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximizes the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers, according to a press release.


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