Venezuela names Dongfang to refurbish six units at 10,300-MW Simon Bolivar hydro project

Venezuela utility Corporacion Electrica Nacional S.A. (Corpoelec) has awarded a contract to Dongfang Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. of China for comprehensive modernization of six turbine-generators in Powerhouse 1 of the 10,300-MW Simon Bolivar hydroelectric project on Venezuela’s Caroni River.

Corpoelec took bids for the work in 2012, seeking design, manufacture, installation, testing, and commissioning of Units 1-6, comprising turbines, governors, generators, exciters, transformers, isolated phase bars, auxiliary drive systems, and electrical and mechanical auxiliary systems. Work also is to include modernizing the control systems of Units 1-10 and the central control of the entire Powerhouse 1.

Upon completion in 60 months, the work is expected to increase the project’s installed capacity by 885 MW, Corpoelec said.

Corpoelec officials signed contracts with Dongfang in ceremonies October 14 at the project site. Dongfang Assistant General Manager Lan Xiangjun said Simon Bolivar is recognized as one of the world’s largest power plants and a symbol of pride to Venezuela.

“We are honored to participate in this project to which we will bring 56 years of worldwide experience of our company,” the Dongfang official said.

The Andean development corporation, Corporacion Andina de Fomento, approved a US$380 million loan in 2011 to help replace the six turbine-generators which have been operating for 50 years at the plant, located at Guri Dam. The Inter-American Development Bank also announced a US$700 million loan to upgrade the units.

Corpoelec recruited firms October 21 to provide engineering services for the modernization project including assistance in evaluation of equipment and facilities, development of design plans, review of manufacturers’ plans, and survey and updating of technical documentation.

Equipment supplier Alstom Hydro received a contract in 2012 to rehabilitate five 630-MW generators in Simon Bolivar’s Powerhouse 2.

Crews rehab units, dredge sediment at 240-MW Paez hydro project

Meanwhile, comprehensive modernization worth US$147.85 million is under way on the 240-MW Jose Antonio Paez hydroelectric project on Venezuela’s Aracay and Santo Domingo Rivers.

Crews are in the second month of a two-month plant shutdown for cleaning and dredging the project’s Santo Domingo Reservoir, whose accumulation of sediment has severely reduced the useful volume of the project. Additionally, sediment retention works are being constructed to reduce future accumulation.

Corpoelec said three of the projects four generating units, Units, 1, 2 and 4, are completing major maintenance and should be ready to generate 165 MW in November from a reservoir cleaned of sediments. Unit 3 is to undergo full modernization with operation scheduled in the first half of 2015.

Minor maintenance also is being performed on transmission and distribution substations.

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