Toshiba wins contract for Gunnison River hydropower plant cascade rehab

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $17.8 million contract to Toshiba America Energy Systems to refurbish equipment and control systems at its Blue Mesa, Morrow Point and Crystal hydropower plants in Colorado.

According to Reclamation, Toshiba will overhaul two generators, install new stator cores and frames, and improve oil and air cooling systems at Blue Mesa; and install new digital excitation systems for all three plants.

The 86.4-MW Blue Mesa, 173.3-MW Morrow Point and 31.5-MW Crystal projects are all components of the Wayne N. Aspinall Unit, which is a cascade of dams and hydropower plants located on a 40-mile stretch of the Gunnison River.

“Work performed under this contract will replace and update existing equipment to allow generation at full rated capacity, and improve responsiveness to the dynamic demands of the electrical grid,” the agency said in a release.

The projects have been undergoing periodic upgrades in recent years, with Reclamation awarding a $460,000 contract to Peak Hydro Services in November 2011 to repair draft tube discharge rings for Blue Mesa’s two Francis turbines.

The Aspinall Unit is part of Reclamation’s Colorado River Storage Project. The project provides long-term regulatory storage used by the bureau to meet flow obligation requirements in the river’s upper basin, per the Colorado River Compact.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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