Corps rehab continues at 155-MW Center Hill facility in Tennessee

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced today contractors have successfully installed a 249-ton hydropower rotor in Unit 2 as part of the US$47.25 million contract to rehabilitate three units at the 155-MW Center Hill hydropower project located on the Caney Fork River in Dekalb County, Tenn.

The Nashville District awarded a contract to Voith Hydro in June 2014 to rehabilitate three Center Hill Dam hydropower units. The contractor mobilized to the dam in July 2015 and began the rehabilitation of Unit 2. Unit 1 will then be rehabilitated followed by Unit 3.

The Corps said Voith Hydro expects to finish rehabilitation of Unit 2 in mid-July once its final assembly and load testing are complete at the facility, which is located 55 miles east of Nashville and began operations in 1950.

The work began in September 2015 and included rebuilding the generator’s rotor, overhauling the shaft, and replacing the stator, stator coils, wicket gates and turbine. The unit now features an aeration capability designed to add oxygen to the water to benefit the aquatic life downstream of the dam, according to the Corps.

The Corps said Unit 2 is the first of 28 units at nine projects that will be rehabilitated in the Cumberland River system, which stretches across Tennessee and Kentucky and includes the following powerhouses:

  • Barkley, on the Cumberland River about 22 miles southeast of Paducah, Ky., contains four 32.5-MW units with a total rated “overload” capacity of 149.5 MW. The units became operational in 1966.
  • Center Hill, on the Caney Fork River in Dekalb County, Tenn., 55 miles east of Nashville, contains three 45-MW generating units with a total rated overload capacity of 155 MW. The units became operational in 1950 and 1951.
  • Cheatham, on the Cumberland River about 15 miles southeast of Clarksville, Tenn., contains three 12-MW units with a total rated overload capacity of 41.4 MW. The units became operational between 1958 and 1960.
  • Cordell Hull, on the Cumberland River about 48 miles east of Nashville, contains three 33.333-MW units with a total rated overload capacity of 115 MW. The units became operational in 1973 and 1974.
  • Dale Hollow, on the Obey River in Clay County, Tenn., contains three 18-MW units with a total rated overload capacity of 62.1 MW. The units became operable in 1948, 1949 and 1953.
  • J. Percy Priest, on the Stones River about 10 miles east of Nashville, contains one 28-MW unit with a rated overload capacity of 32.2 MW. The unit became operational in 1970.
  • Laurel, on the Laurel River in Laurel and Whitley Counties, Ky., has one 61-MW unit with a rated overload capacity of 70.15 MW. The unit became operational in 1977.
  • Old Hickory, on the Cumberland River about 14 miles southwest of Gallatin, Tenn., contains four 25-MW units with a rated overload capacity of 115 MW. The units became operational in 1957.
  • Wolf Creek, on the Cumberland River about 10 miles south of Jamestown, Ky., contains six 45-MW units with a total rated overload capacity of 310 MW. The units became operational in 1951 and 1952.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2000, Section 212, authorized the Corps to accept and expend funds from power preference customers to perform rehab work on hydropower equipment. Under this provision of the law, funds that would normally be returned to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury are used to maintain the hydropower generating equipment. Over the life of the program SEPA looks to direct more than $1.2 billion into the Cumberland River System Hydropower Rehabilitation.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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