Seattle completes fix of Boundary Dam hydro unit

The city of Seattle, Wash., said July 24 that Seattle City Light’s Boundary Dam electrical generating Unit 53 is back up and running for the peak generation season on the Pend Oreille River.

The generator was repaired in half the time it typically takes for this type of project and $1m under budget. On April 27, 2013, the generator experienced a severe electrical short disabling the unit right before peak generation, causing an estimated $6m to $7m loss in surplus power sales between April and July of 2013.

Industry experts decided that the unit needed a full replacement of the electrical windings in the generator core. Unit 53 was last rewound in 1982 and was scheduled for maintenance in 2017. Repair costs were estimated at $18m and were paid from City Light’s capital improvement projects budget. Such projects typically take two years to complete. The dedicated project team worked diligently and strategically to complete overhaul Unit 53 in less than 12 months and $1m under budget.

“The project is an example of how a completely focused team, with exceptional project management, can come together and rebuild a machine in half the time we would typically take,” said General Manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It began generating power at Boundary Dam in 1967. This facility produces the most electricity of any City Light dam – up to 1,040 MW, or up to 40% of Seattle’s electricity requirements.

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.