Voith worked on a number of U.S. hydro projects in 2014

Voith Hydro said Dec. 29 that it is celebrating a strong year in 2014 that included many new contracts for new generating equipment and rehabilitation work, as well as notable milestones for major Voith projects across the United States.

“2014 was a banner year for Voith Hydro in the United States,” said Voith Hydro President and CEO Bob Gallo. “Our company achieved significant progress on major hydropower projects, and won new orders to build the turbines, generators, and automation equipment that will power our economic future. I look forward to continuing on our tremendous progress in 2015, and expanding clean and affordable hydropower generation across the country.”

Project milestones in the U.S. include:

  • In February, Voith Hydro completed an integrated factory test and shipped the first of eleven complete unit automation systems to the Churchill Falls Plant in Labrador, Canada. Nalcor has selected Voith to renew and upgrade the complete control system including the protection, governor, and excitation systems at the 5,428 MW plant through at least 2020.
  • In March and April, Voith Hydro completed the collaborative design and model testing work on the Kaplan runners at the Ice Harbor Dam with the Hydroelectric Design Center and the Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Voith Hydro also began the procurement and manufacturing of equipment to build the first replacement Kaplan runner to be supplied for that facility.
  • In May, the Badger Hydro Plant in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, was officially dedicated. Voith Hydro supplied two Kaplan turbines and automation equipment for the 7-MW facility, which combined 85 year-old and 105 year-old hydropower plants.
  • In June, Voith Hydro shipped three stators and three distributors from its Hannibal, Ohio, plant to the Smithland Hydroelectric Project in Kentucky. Smithland was the last of the four American Municipal Power Ohio River plants to receive this shipment. At over 300 MW, AMP’s Ohio River projects represent the largest new U.S. hydropower development undertaken in recent years.
  • Also in June, Voith Hydro was awarded the contract to rehabilitate the three units at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Center Hill Dam Powerhouse in Lancaster, Tennessee. The rehabilitation will replace units that are over 60 years old, boost the power output at the facility, and improve dissolved oxygen levels in the water passing through the units.
  • In July, Voith Hydro was awarded the contract to rehabilitate and upgrade the 100-MW turbines in the 10-unit powerhouse at Grant County (Washington) Public Utility District‘s (PUD) Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River. The work will span 10 years starting in 2016, with one unit upgraded per year.
  • This past summer, ground was officially broken on the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project at the Lake Red Rock Dam near Pella, Iowa. Voith Hydro will supply the turbines, generators, and associated controls for the project being developed by Missouri River Energy Services, scheduled for completion in 2018.
  • In August, Voith Hydro won the contract to replace two turbine runners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Denison Dam in Texas. The rehabilitation of the 80-MW facility includes design, manufacture, testing, and installation of two Francis turbine runners; replacement of miscellaneous turbine mechanical components; turbine model testing; and other work.

Voith Hydro said that impressive as these numbers are, they represent only a fraction of the potential for hydropower development in the U.S., where only 3% of the over 80,000 dams in the country, which were built for water storage, irrigation, flood control or navigability, actually do produce clean hydropower electricity. With the right policies in place, the U.S could boost hydropower production by 60,000 MW while adding 1.4 million cumulative jobs, it added.

2014 also saw the further implementation of legislation designed to boost hydropower production – particularly small hydro – across the U.S. In fact, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already approved a pilot project for its new two-year licensing process, which was one of the primary components of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act.

In addition, legislation to retroactively extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) designed to incentivize hydropower development was signed into law.

Founded in 1867, Voith employs more than 43,000 people, generates EUR 5.7 billion in sales, operates in about 50 countries around the world and is today one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe.

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.