New Mexico county to seek bids for 3-MW powerhouse addition

Los Alamos County intends to solicit proposals for detailed design of a 3-MW powerhouse addition to the 11-MW Abiquiu hydroelectric project on New Mexico’s Rio Chama, a tributary of the Rio Grande.

The county approved $2.8 million in its fiscal year 2009 budget and $5.6 million in its fiscal 2010 budget for a total of nearly $8.5 million to design and build the powerhouse addition and install a low-flow unit at Abiquiu, which is located at a Corps of Engineers dam.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order for the project (No. 7369) April 30 approving the county’s request to extend the hydro license schedule to start and complete the powerhouse addition. FERC’s new schedule calls for construction to begin by Nov. 1, 2009; work is to be completed by Nov. 1, 2012.

The county’s Department of Public Utilities originally told FERC it planned to issue a request for proposals for engineering design and to select a firm to prepare a detailed design of the powerhouse addition and the water-to-wire equipment during summer 2008. However, Assistant Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith said the schedule since has slipped to between February and spring 2009. Solicitations based on the design specifications would be issued at a later date.

Construction activities cannot begin until after Nov. 1, 2009, as releases from Abiquiu reservoir typically drop below the minimum required for the plant’s two existing units between Nov. 1 and March 1.

For information, contact Steve Cummins, Deputy Utilities Manager, Department of Public Utilities, Incorporated County of Los Alamos, P.O. Drawer 1030, Los Alamos, NM 87544; (1) 505-662-8130.

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