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Work starts on Barkley Dam makeover and restoration

Work starts on Barkley Dam makeover and restoration

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2012 8:01 pm

LAKE CITY, Ky. (AP) — The hydropower plant at Barkley Dam is undergoing a multi-million dollar makeover and restoration with the aim of keeping the lights on for tens of thousands of households.
Workers started the project Thursday by removing the machinery of a 270-ton rotor — the first piece in bringing an inoperable part of the Barkley Power Plant back to life.
The project is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 20-year program to rehabilitate the 28 hydropower generators in the Nashville District.
Damaged after suffering a phase-to-ground electrical fault that resulted in a December 2010 fire, the plant’s 46-year old Unit 1 generator was slated for an overall renovation and rewinding.
Jamie Hold, a power project specialist, said removing the rotor took planning because of the precise nature of the equipment.
“Once you lift that rotor, you can’t just sit it back down, there’s only certain places that it can go,” Holt said.
Project Manager Jamie James told The Paducah Sun (http:// bit.ly/OmwWfS) that there’s no imminent problem with any of the three generators at the dam beyond normal wear and tear.
When in operation, the generator revolves at about 65 RPM, produces 13,800 volts at 2,000 amps and is rated at 32.5 megawatt hours of electricity.
Between the four generators — all installed during the plant’s creation in 1966 — they power more than 21,460 homes, but each have exceeded their 30-year service life, James said.
“These units were scheduled to be rehabilitated — though they were scheduled further out — but we decided after an evaluation that it made better sense from an economic and operational standpoint to go ahead and do Unit 1 now,” James said. “Maintenance and good care have given us 16 more years out of them than anticipated, so that’s a pretty good value to the taxpayers that we were able to keep them going.”
The estimated cost of the rehabilitation plan is about $11.5 million. The project is funded 50 percent through Federal Emergency Operations and Maintenance Funds and 50 percent through customer funds.
As part of a Memorandum of Agreement signed in August 2011, the Corps joined forces with the Department of Energy, Southeastern Power Administration and other utilities to split the cost of the modernization across the district. SEPA and shareholders plan to devote more than $1.2 billion over the course of the program.
“In a sense, the project carries its own load from the amount of electricity it produces and that will be used throughout the life of the rehabilitation program,” James said.
The Corps awarded an $8 million contract to National Electric Coil in Columbus, Ohio, in September 2011 to complete work on the Unit 1 generator, with a slated 18-month time frame of completion, while work on the other three generators is still some time off.
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Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com

Published in The Messenger 8.17.12

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