Reclamation releases draft environmental assessment for rehab of 6,809-MW Grand Coulee generators

Grand Coulee Hydropower Project

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft environmental assessment and is now seeking comments on proposed modernization and overhaul work on 18 generators at its 6,809-MW Grand Coulee hydro project.

The work is to take place on generators G1 through G18 in the left and right powerhouses. These 18 generating units have been in operation for more than 70 years and are experiencing mechanical problems from age-related wear and design.

Reclamation would upgrade components of the generating units, modernize three station service generators that also have been operating for more than 70 years, conduct maintenance of the penstocks, and update or replace the overhead cranes. Reclamation says the goal of the work is to provide reliable operations and electrical power generation for an additional 30 years.

The draft EA analyzes the potential environmental effects of three alternatives:

  • Alternative A – No Action: Reclamation continues to operate the 18 units with no system improvements. Maintenance would be performed on an as-needed basis.
  • Alternative B – Preferred Alternative: Work on two units simultaneously: Reclamation repairs and restores the generators to ensure reliable operation for an additional 30 years. Work would likely begin in the spring of 2018 with project completion anticipated by the end of 2029.
  • Alternative C – Work on one unit at a Time: Reclamation performs the same work as in Alternative B. However, this would extend the overhaul work up to seven years longer than Alternative B.

Click here to view the draft EA. Comments are due no later than May 14, 2017, to Pam Druliner, Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, 1150 North Curtis Road, Boise, ID 83706 or by email to pdruliner@usbr.gov.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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