Generation at Minnesota Power’s 72-MW Thomson hydropower plant could resume early this summer, according to an update provided during the company’s annual meeting of shareholders earlier this week.
The project, located on the St. Louis River, was closed for rehabilitation in June 2012 after heavy rains caused overtopping of the reservoir behind Thomson and breaching of an earthen dike at the forebay.
Repairs conducted over a 22-month period have included the planning and rebuilding of the forebay; cleaning, repairing and refurbishing of the powerhouse and its six turbine-generators; and the repair and replacement of flow lines, penstocks and valves.
Minnesota Power — a division of ALLETE — said the reconstruction and improvements have cost the company about US$90 million. Engineers expect all six of the damaged turbines to be back in operation by the end of the year.
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