Wisconsin Electric: Commercial start this summer for revamped hydro facility

Commercial operation of a new powerhouse at the Twin Falls hydro facility is scheduled for summer 2016, with demolition of the existing powerhouse to occur 2017.

Wisconsin Electric Power on April 25 updated the Wisconsin Public Service Commission on project construction. These are new facilities for the existing Twin Falls Hydroelectric Project in the Town of Florence, Florence County, Wisconsin and the Town of Breitung, Dickinson County, Michigan. In May 2013, the Wisconsin commission issued an order approving the project.

Construction is 84% complete. Final placement of the generators and all major equipment is now complete. Electrical cable pulls and terminations continue throughout the powerhouse. Tailrace water-up is complete and approval to remove the tailrace cofferdam has been received. All major excavation is complete. Forming of the powerhouse right intake wall is proceeding and cleaning of the forebay continues in preparation of forebay water-up. Concrete placement in the powerhouse intake and Wisconsin spillway is complete. All major concrete placement is now complete.

For Black & Veatch, the engineer of record, 17 of 17 planned procurements are under contract. Sixteen contracts are complete and equipment has been delivered. Delivery of equipment from one of the remaining contracts is expected in the second quarter, all other manufacturing under the other executed agreements are complete and undergoing final testing. The startup and commissioning of in place equipment for the remaining contracts is planned for the second quarter and are proceeding as schedule.

As for the Canadian Hydro Components, turbines, generators and intake penstocks have been installed and are mechanically complete. Ongoing activities include final inspection and start-up of equipment and supporting systems through this next quarter.

In November 2012, the commission received an application from WEPCO seeking authority to construct a new hydroelectric facility at the site of its existing Twin Falls Hydroelectric Facility, located on the Menominee River at a total estimated cost of $72.3m, which is the estimated cost given in the April 25 update.

The Twin Falls Hydroelectric Facility, including the dam and powerhouse, was constructed and placed in service in 1912 by a WEPCO predecessor company, Peninsular Power Co. Most of the powerhouse equipment, including the turbines, were installed between 1912 and 1915, and are in relatively poor physical condition due to age and deterioration. WEPCO decided that the most cost-effective approach to address these issues is to construct a new powerhouse and remove, rather than repair, the existing powerhouse.

The rehabbed project is expected to generate approximately 43,600 MWh per year. The total installed capacity would be increased from 6.1 MW to approximately 9 MW. The new powerhouse would contain two 4.5-MW identical Kaplan vertical-type turbines.

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.