GE Renewable Energy to refurbish turbines at 624-MW Rock Island hydropower plant

Rock Island hydro

GE Renewable Energy signed a design-build agreement (DBA) with Chelan County Public Utility District in Washington State to start the design process for rehabilitation of eight bulb generating units at the Rock Island Powerhouse 2.

Rock Island, on the Columbia River in central Washington, is the second largest of Chelan PUD’s three hydroelectric sites. The eight horizontal bulb generating units in Powerhouse 2 are the only such turbines on the Columbia River, and there are few of these in North America.

The main objective of the Powerhouse 2 rehabilitation is to maintain overall plant equipment reliability for the next 40 years using innovative and environment-friendly solutions, two factors that guided the development of a new GE hydro solution. As part of the rehabilitation, GE Renewable Energy will provide a new oil-free runner solution, to eliminate the risk of oil leaking into water passing through the turbine runners.

“These units were installed in the late 1970s and have run trouble-free for the most part,” said John Sagerser, engineering and project manager at Rock Island Dam. “They have a 40-year design life and they are beginning to show signs of wear. Rock Island Powerhouse 2 is a critical part of the District’s programs to minimize environmental impacts in such areas as fish passage and total dissolved gas. That’s why Environmental Stewardship is one of the four strategic goals for the project, and why improvements to minimize oil, grease and other potential contaminants are key elements of the work.”

The design is expected to be completed in late 2020. The work to rehabilitate the eight generating units is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2030.

“I am delighted that Chelan County PUD has renewed their confidence in GE’s Hydro Solutions. We have established a collaborative and transparent approach with Chelan County PUD,” said Pascal Radue, president and chief executive officer of GE’s Hydro Solutions. “This close relationship enables us to clearly understand their needs and work side by side in order to provide a customized solution and execution planning that best meets their needs.”

GE Renewable Energy provides end-to-end solutions in the onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions industries, as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings. GE Renewable Energy has installed 400+ GW of clean renewable energy.

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