Montana utility awards equipment contract for new 60-MW Rainbow

PPL Montana awarded a $37.7 million water-to-wire contract to VA Tech Hydro for the new 60-MW Rainbow hydroelectric plant to be built on the Missouri River as part of the 326.9-MW Missouri-Madison project.

PPL Montana executed the contract Aug. 21 with VA Tech Hydro, which is to supply, install, and commission the equipment. The manufacturer performed design work under a limited notice to proceed since February.

PPL Montana’s board earlier this year authorized $175 million to construct the new hydroelectric plant, which will replace an existing 35-MW Rainbow plant. (HNN 2/28/08)

PPL Montana said it plans to begin building the new powerhouse in spring 2009. It will feature a single 60-MW turbine of an improved, �fish friendly� design, replacing eight units at the existing powerhouse.

Plans for the new powerhouse are included in PPL Montana’s license to operate Missouri-Madison (No. 2188), an eight-powerhouse project, through August 2040. The new facility, to be built on a hillside about 200 feet downstream of the existing powerhouse, is expected to be placed in service in April 2011. The original powerhouse then will be closed.

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