Unit at 10.15-MW Snare Forks hydroelectric facility offline after bearing failure

A bearing failure on one of the 4.3-MW turbine-generator units at the Snare Forks hydroelectric facility in Northwest Territories, Canada, has caused the unit to be taken out of service.

Project owner Northwest Territories Power Corporation says a second 4.3-MW unit at the station continues to generate electricity. Removal of Unit 1 from service represents a total generation reduction of about 15% from the North Slave hydro system. Other hydro stations on the Snare River have a generating capacity of 19.3 MW. According to the NTPC website, the Share Hydro System consists of 8.5-MW Snare Rapids, 7.4-MW Snare Falls, 4.3-MW Snare Cascades and Snare Forks.

In addition, 6 MW of capacity is available from the Bluefish Hydroelectric Facility on the Yellowknife River. NTPC also has capacity from the 18-MW Taltson hydro plant on the Taltson River.

NTPC is inspecting the unit to determine the extent of the damage and is assembling a team to conduct a root cause analysis. The team will include subject matter experts from NTPC and a third party with extensive experience in maintenance and engineering, according to a press release.

“We expect that Unit 1 at Snare Forks will be off line for several months; however we won’t know the full extent of the repairs until we have completed the inspection and investigation,” said Scott Spencer, acting president and chief executive officer of NTPC. “We have sufficient hydro and backup diesel generating capacity to ensure reliable electricity supply to customers in Yellowknife and the North Slave region.”

NTPC planned to take Unit 1 offline in April 2019 as part of a complete overhaul. The company will be working toward acceleration of the planned work.

NTPC says the repair costs are unknown at this time, as is the possible impact on electricity rates.

NTPC is a wholly owned subsidiary of NT Hydro, which is 100% owned by the government of the Northwest Territories.

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