Tech Briefs

Digital transformation of the energy industry includes hydro

The digital universe will double in size every two years and by 2020 will reach 44 zettabytes, Siemens says. For context, this digital universe will contain nearly as many digital bits as there are stars in the universe.

What does this mean for hydropower? Companies are developing technologies to transform this data into smart data, revolutionizing business models.

One example is Siemens’ new Digital Services for Energy, which consists of “intelligent knowledge systems” that are enabled by advanced algorithms, sophisticated data analytics and machine learning, according to a press release. Combining this with domain know-how allows creation of new business models that are continuously fed by as-operated and as-maintained fleet and unit-specific data.

Siemens says this approach “facilitates tailored service solutions designed to meet customer needs for operational flexibility, plant performance, condition-based maintenance and more.” In addition, these data analytics “contribute to the development of new and improved processes and provide valuable insights that can be used in future technology design.”

A case study of application of this technology at a hydro facility is not currently available, but Siemens is working with a U.S. utility to support an initiative targeted to mitigate unplanned outage time of its steam turbines and generators when the units are required to be available to generate power.

NHA accepting nominations for 2017 OSAW awards

The National Hydropower Association is accepting applications for the 2017 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters awards program. Applications can be submitted by midnight, Jan. 13, 2017.

Awards will be presented in three categories: operational excellence; public education; and environmental, recreational or historical enhancement. All nominations will be judged by a committee composed of NHA members from across a spectrum of hydropower industry disciplines, with winners to be recognized during an award ceremony at NHA’s Waterpower Week in Washington.

The awards date back to the Hydro Achievement Awards, which NHA created in 1994. NHA added the Outstanding Stewardship of America’s Rivers (OSAR) Report in 1999, and the two honors were merged in 2007 as the OSAW program.

Waterpower Week in Washington takes place May 1-3, 2017, and combines the NHA Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium.

Hatch gets Award of Excellence for Lower Mattagami work

Hatch Co. was recognized Oct. 25 at the Canadian Consulting Engineering (CCE) Awards gala with a national Award of Excellence for the Lower Mattagami River project. The US$2.2 billion project increased capacity from 486 MW to 924 MW at four fully operational redeveloped hydro projects.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) owns and operates the Lower Mattagami River project. Hatch acted as OPG’s engineer for the front-end study and design phases and representative during implementation. Hatch provided oversight services for all contractors and on-site workers, which peaked at nearly 1,200. According to the release, 70% of workers were from local communities that included 25% from First Nation partners, Moose Cree Nation and Taykwa Tagamou Nation. The project enabled several First Nations-owned companies to share about C$250 million in contracts.

To balance flow capacity and water levels across the river, one-unit extensions of 68 MW, 100 MW, and 84 MW were added to the Little Long, Harmon, and Kipling generating stations, respectively. The fourth generating station, Smoky Falls, was built in 1931 and required a complete overhaul, including a new station to add three 90-MW units.

Lower Mattagami has been an extremely complex project, yet very rewarding,” said Fadi Chidiac, project manager for Hatch. “I am humbled by this recognition from the CCE, and want to extend my congratulations to all team members who worked to bring this project to successful completion.”

Thomson elected fellow by marine, naval society

George A. (Sandy) Thomson has been elected a Fellow by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME). Thomson is owner and chairman of the board of Thomson-Gordon Group, the parent of Thordon Bearings Inc.

The grade of Fellow is accorded to “individuals who have made outstanding personal contributions to naval architecture, marine or ocean engineering, or allied disciplines through significant achievements in design, research, production, operation, education or associated management.”

Thomson redirected his family’s engineering supplies business to bearing manufacturing, leading to the development of Thordon Bearings. Thordon manufactures bearing systems used in hydropower.

OpEx Corner: Condition Monitoring of Generators

The National Hydropower Association’s OpEx database offers insights into how condition monitoring of generators can identify problems before failures. Many abnormal conditions in hydropower plant generators go undetected until a failure occurs. Learn from documented event reports about:

  • How condition monitoring can detect abnormal conditions and alert plant staff to take corrective action before these failures

Visit to find out additional information and join more than 350 industry participants with 90 companies in exchanging information in a secure environment.

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