Alstom wins contract to upgrade four Glen Canyon hydro units

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Sept. 30 that it has awarded a $27.5m contract to Alstom of Littleton, Colo., to rebuild four of the eight hydroelectric generation units at the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona that have reached the end of their service life.

“For nearly 50 years, Glen Canyon Powerplant has generated renewable, hydroelectric power to help meet the electrical needs in the West,” said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. “The units being rebuilt under this contract have been in service for nearly 30 of those years. Replacing the generation units on schedule ensures continued reliability and optimal efficiency of the powerplant for the next 30-35 years as Reclamation supports the nation’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.”

The four units to be replaced will have stators made from solid copper bars, increasing reliability and extending the life of the units by up to 10 years. Once the work is completed, all eight of the generators will have been rebuilt.

Work is scheduled to begin in the summer and continue through December 2016 with the process to rebuild each generator taking about seven months to complete. Only one generator will be rebuilt at a time, which means a 173 MW reduction in total power plant capacity while each unit is off-line.

All power plant maintenance and replacement activities are scheduled in coordination with the Western Area Power Administration, which markets the power sold to municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, Native American tribes, and government agencies in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska, and Nevada.

The Glen Canyon plant, located on the Colorado River, has a total capacity of 1,320 MW and annually produces approximately five billion kilowatt-hours of power to help sustain the electrical needs of about 5.8 million customers.

The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the U.S., with operations and facilities in 17 western states.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.