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More Powerful Turbine Arrives in NW

by Staff
BPA Journal, June 2010

A 45-ton piece of hydroelectric turbine took a 2,720-mile journey last month. Its destination was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Chief Joseph Dam in eastern Washington, where it will boost the renewable power generated by the Columbia River. Chief Joseph Dam is the second-largest operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The upgraded turbine runner -- the part of a hydroelectric turbine that rotates under the action of water to generate electric power -- is the first of 10 new, more efficient runners to be installed at Chief Joseph by 2014. The new runners and related refurbishment will increase the dam's power generation by more than 40 megawatts and boost the efficiency of the turbines to 95 percent or better. That is enough to power another 30,000 Northwest homes from the same amount of water passing through the turbines, compared to the 50-year-old runners being replaced.

"This turbine and the others to follow help us use the available water as efficiently as possible, which is especially important in a dry year like this one," said Steve Oliver, BPA's vice president for generation asset management.

BPA is financing the approximately $120 million in upgrades through an agreement with the Corps of Engineers.

More Powerful Turbine Arrives in NW
BPA Journal, June 2010

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