News

New technology paves the way for a more efficient PUD

by Rachel Hansen | Dec 07, 2020

Chelan PUD is developing new sensor technology and predictive models for its hydro projects to operate more efficiently, reduce downtime and generate more clean, reliable power.

PUD commissioners heard a report from Hydro Engineering Manager John Yale about tools in development. (0:31:54 on the board audio)

Once deployed, the PUD can use the new technology and data to:

  • Predict how changes in operating conditions affect the lifespan of its generators. Staff is working with members of the Hydropower Research Institute to calibrate the predictive data models to apply to different kinds of hydro projects around the world.
  • Keep hydro operators and engineers apprised of small anomalies – such as a slight change in vibration or temperature – that could be an early signal of a developing issue.
  • Detect when water has entered a turbine hub. In the past, the unit would shut down for three days while crews inspected the inside of the turbine. The new sensor would reduce downtime to 10 minutes.

“This is real innovation and we committed to that in our strategic plan,” said Commissioner Ann Congdon. “This is pretty exciting. This is how it should work.”

In other news, commissioners:

  • Approved the 2021 budget after two hearings and no public comment. (01:25:38)
  • Heard a preview of relevant issues under consideration during the state legislative session (0:14:00)
  • Heard a report that the PUD has exceeded its energy conservation goals by working directly with industrial, residential and commercial customer-owners to save energy (0:54:00)
  • Chose to delay until spring plans to ask the public for more ideas for Public Power Benefit projects with the hope that covid-19 vaccine availability will create more opportunities for the public to be involved (01:03:32)
  • Extended an agreement with local internet service providers to continue offering free wifi hotspots through 2021 (01:30:31).

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The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 21. The public is welcome to attend remotely in accordance with the latest guidance from the state Department of Health.

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