PUD Awards Rock Island Dam Turbine Project Contract

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Assembling rotor rim lamination for unit 5 in area between units 2 and 3 existing powerhouse. Taken June 28, 1952

A major turbine upgrade at Rock Island Dam moves forward after Chelan County PUD Commissioners award a contract to a North Carolina firm. In a special Chelan PUD Board of Commissioners meeting Friday, commissioners authorized District staff to move forward with updated plans for modernization of Rock Island Dam units B1 – 4.

“This is a great opportunity for the District and its customer-owners,” stated General Manager Steve Wright. “By acting today, we can take advantage of a $1.24 million discount and the four Rock Island operating units, B1 – 4, could be returned to service six months earlier than we thought if all safety concerns related to acceleration can be met.” Wright went on to thank the commissioners for making themselves available on such short notice to make this happen. And he gave particular praise to the many employees who made this bid acceptance possible during the holiday season, after bids were open on Dec. 22.

Andritz Hydro was the lowest bidder and offered an alternate option that would take three units down at one time, at a lower cost and would end up being completed six months earlier than previous estimates. The early completion would mean the units are available prior to the PUD’s “check in” for its Habitat Conservation Plan. Under the proposed schedule, the District gets greater flexibility to address any future unplanned outages at Rock Island as well.

“There is a sense of legacy with this dam, since it is the oldest one on the Columbia River,” said Commission President Randy Smith. “It’s a proud moment to move forward with this modernization work and to have the oldest turbines on the Columbia be replaced by the newest turbines. Not bad given 85 years of operations at Rock Island.”

The resolution authorizing acceptance of the bid passed unanimously.

In other Commission business, the commissioners received an update on the two substation projects from John Stoll, managing director of Customer Utilities. Stoll reported that there are three sites for the District to evaluate in both Leavenworth and Chelan.

Community meetings are planned for Leavenworth and Chelan in early February, with a report back to commissioners at the first commission meeting in March, and final recommendation at the second meeting in March.

No further action or reports were taken and the meeting adjourned. Commissioner Smith wished everyone a Happy and Safe New Year.