Board approves design contract for Rock Island Powerhouse 2 upgrades

by Rachel Hansen | Jul 21, 2020

Chelan PUD commissioners approved a $4.5 million contract with GE Renewables to begin the design process for the rehabilitation of eight bulb generating units at Rock Island Powerhouse 2.

“These units were installed in the late 1970s and have run trouble-free for the most part,” said John Sagerser, engineering and project manager at Rock Island Dam. “They have a 40-year design life and they are beginning to show signs of wear.”

While the work is not specifically part of the 50-year relicensing effort for Rock Island Dam, “we are working in tandem with relicensing to make sure we have reliable equipment that will be operational well into the future,” Sagerser said.

The design is expected to be completed in late 2020. The work to rehabilitate the eight generating units is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2030.

Rock Island Dam is the second-largest of three hydroelectric sites operated by Chelan County PUD. There are eight horizontal bulb generating units in Powerhouse 2, and they are the only such turbines on the Columbia River and one of the few in North America. Each unit will be down for about a year for rehabilitation.

GE Renewables is a branch of General Electric that specializes in the design and manufacture of hydroelectric turbines and generators.

In other business, commissioners:

• Heard an update about future sitework construction at the new PUD Service Center at Olds Station (0:28)

• Received an update about ground movement and potential rockfalls in the gorge above the Lake Chelan powerhouse (1:10)

• Were briefed about ongoing efforts by the PUD to provide assistance to customers during the COVID-19 epidemic (1:20)

• Recognized the retirement of Mike Coleman, managing director of Fiber & Telecom, thanking him for his service to Chelan PUD (0:42)

Upcoming events:

  • Aug. 3 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
  • Aug. 4 – Service Center groundbreaking, 9:30 a.m., Olds Station
  • Aug. 11 – Tri-Commission meeting, 1-3 p.m. (virtual meeting)

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3. The public is welcome to attend remotely in accordance with the latest guidance from the state Department of Health.

Chelan PUD records most commission meetings, and a link to the audio is available on the PUD’s home page at Find us at and follow us on Twitter @ChelanPUD.


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Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320
Neil Neroutsos: (509) 661-8291

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