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Comparing PUD dams with others shows strengths and areas to improve

Chelan County PUD
News Release
1/21/2013

Modernizing two units in the original powerhouse at Rock Island Dam and upgrading three others has extended the life of the equipment and improved power output and efficiency. The work at Rock Island Powerhouse 1 was among the topics covered by Kirk Hudson, Generation and Transmission managing director, in a quarterly update Monday for Chelan PUD commissioners.

The capacity of Unit B10, the first turbine-generator to be modernized, increased by at least 3 megawatts with efficiency gains of approximately 13 percentage points. Results for B9 are about a 5-megawatt capacity increase and a 12-percentage point increase in efficiency. The gains were confirmed with a test last fall that required drawing down the reservoir behind the dam, Hudson said.

Even so, production costs for operation and maintenance in the original powerhouse of the first dam on the Columbia River are higher than the District’s other turbine-generators, he noted. Recent comparisons with about 400 generating stations around the world also found production costs are better than average for Rocky Reach and the Lake Chelan dams, but the two Rock Island Dam powerhouses are higher cost than the average for plants of similar size.

Those findings underscore the decision to scale back further modernizing work in Powerhouse 1, he said.

Keeping a close eye on costs and making sure equipment is reliable are important steps in meeting the objectives in the District’s Strategic Plan and the expectations of customer-owners.

In other business Monday, commissioners:

  • Listened to a recap by Mike Coleman, Fiber and Telecom managing director, on efforts to restore fiber access in the Lake Wenatchee area following last month’s storms. As of Friday, other than the 64 connections on the south shore of the lake which must be rebuilt, 38 connections remain offline. Coleman also discussed last week’s decision to forego restoring south shore service with wireless broadband. He estimated it will take seven to eight weeks before work can begin and promised a more detailed assessment of the timeline at Saturday’s community meeting. (See schedule below.)  

  • Learned the PUD will soon start work to update its Strategic Plan, adopted in 2010. General Manager John Janney said one of the first steps will be checking in with customer-owners to discuss the District’s positive financial changes and to confirm it remains on track with customer expectations for the utility. The goal is to finish the update by mid-2014.   

  • Set special meetings for:

    • Noon on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Lake Wenatchee Recreation Club, to attend a community meeting on next steps in the fiber and ongoing electric service restoration
    • 11 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2013, in the PUD boardroom, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave., to review the performance of a public employee as authorized by RCW.42.30-110(1)(g)
    • 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2013, at the Wildcard, 560 Valley Mall Parkway, East Wenatchee, to attend the Mid-C Commissioners/Managers meeting
    • Noon on March 19, 2013, in the auditorium of the Leavenworth PUD office, 222 Chumstick Hwy., for a board workshop.

***

The next regular commission meeting is at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 4, 2013.

Most PUD commission meetings are recorded, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at www.chelanpud.org.

Kimberlee Craig
Public Information Officer
Chelan County PUD
Wenatchee, WA
(509) 661-4320, office
(509) 679-6858, mobile
kimberlee.craig@chelanpud.org
www.chelanpud.org
www.Twitter.com/CCPUD
www.Facebook.com/VisitRockyReach

Link to board meeting.