Canada’s Snare Falls hydropower plant still off line after turbine failure

Repairs to the 7.4-MW Snare Falls hydropower plant in Canada’s Northwest Territories could take significantly longer than expected, owner Northwest Territories Power Corp. said in a statement.

The utility said the small hydro project’s turbines “tripped off line while generating electricity” February 15, causing a full power outage in the city of Yellowknife.

An initial evaluation showed the plant’s bearing had broken, at which point repairs were estimated to take between two and six weeks.

However, NT Power said it will drain and seal the turbine chamber before determining if the company will overhaul the entire unit over summer, or if it will conduct repairs immediately.

If the utility chooses to do immediate repairs, the unit could be in service by the end of March. A complete overhaul, however, could require as much as six months to complete.

The utility does not have an estimate for the costs of the repair work, but stated that Snare Falls’ lack of production is costing more than US$32,000 per day in diesel fuel required to make up the shortfall in power generation. All the additional fuel costs will be absorbed into a capital project and spread over the life of the plant, NT Power said.

Snare Falls is one component of a system that also includes the 8.5-MW Snare Rapids, 4.3-MW Snare Cascades and 5.3-MW Snare Forks projects. The plants are located on the Snare River and provide power to Yellowknife, Behchoko and Dettah.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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