Voith Hydro to upgrade three units at 1,080-MW Coo-Trois-Ponts pumped storage plant

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Voith Hydro has won the order to upgrade the units from the Coo I section at Belgium’s largest pumped storage power plant, 1,080-MW Coo-Trois-Ponts.

The project will take four years and will increase plant capacity by 79 MW.

A team of Voith Hydro experts in Germany and the U.S. will be responsible for the model testing. The subsequent work on turbines and generators to increase performance will be conducted partly on site in the power plant and partly at Voith’s facilities in Heidenheim, Germany.

Among other things, new runners and distributors will be manufactured for the turbines. For the generators, the priority will be to improve cooling and insulation. For Voith Hydro, the project is an important follow-up order from its customer ENGIE Electrabel. Previously, Voith had completed an extensive automation contract that included the supply of new control and excitation technology as well as speed governors for the power plant’s six machines.

“We are delighted that the customer has also entrusted us with the forthcoming modernization of the power units and that we are thus able to make a further contribution towards safe, reliable and cost efficient power plant operation,” said Maxime Ghiduci, account manager at Voith Hydro.

Pumped storage is the only option for storing electricity on a large scale. In Belgium, the Coo power plant is absolutely essential to maintain balance in the grid. The turbines can be ramped up at any time to balance out a sudden drop in generation or absorb excess power. If demand is too low, Coo therefore stores the electricity that has been produced at another location, to then make it available again at peak consumption times. In this way, Coo has been playing a key role in Belgium’s energy mix for nearly 50 years.

With the upgrade of the three power units, ENGIE Electrabel is also investing in a reliable future supply and grid stability. But to continue to satisfy the growing requirements of the electricity grid, the company will increase the stored energy of the plant by 450 MWh.

The Voith Group is a global technology company working in the markets for energy, paper, raw materials and transport and automotive. The Group Division Voith Hydro is a full-line supplier for equipping hydropower plants.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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