California utility upgrades governors for Upper American River

California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District is upgrading digital and mechanical governors and turbine shutoff valve (TSV) controls for ten units in seven powerhouses of its 647.726-MW Upper American River hydroelectric project.

The work includes refurbishment of governor and TSV controls and the supply of a supervisory control and data acquisition system. Each governor and shutoff valve is being provided with a programmable logic controller for control automation and data acquisition. A SCADA system is being installed to interconnect each of the seven stations and the SMUD Hydro Headquarters in Pollock Pines, Calif.

SMUD chose to upgrade governors and valves due to a lack of spare parts for Woodward 501 and Mod II governors, control failures on existing TSV control systems, and a need to standardize project control systems. Additionally, it saw a need for system level data acquisition to aid in troubleshooting.

North American Hydro of Schofield, Wis., is providing equipment design, supply, manufacturing, installation engineering, site supervision, on-site start up, and training services. System 3 of Sacramento — the general contractor for the upgrade work — is responsible for installing the equipment.

The work involves one unit each at the Jones Fork, Loon Lake, Robbs Peak, and Union Valley powerhouses, and two units each at Camino, Jaybird, and White Rock powerhouses. Most units have Francis-type turbines; units at Loon Lake and Jaybird feature six-needle Peltons.

Load rejection tests were completed Feb. 15 on Unit 2 of the Camino powerhouse, the first of the ten units featuring upgraded governor controls. The last of the upgraded controls is scheduled for commissioning in early 2010.

The Upper American River project (No. 2101) on Rubicon River, Silver Creek, and the South Fork of the American River near Placerville, Calif., is undergoing relicensing. SMUD filed a settlement on behalf of itself and others in the relicensing proceeding in February. (HNN 3/1/07)

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