PUD unhappy with contractor
By Janelle Atyeo
NEWPORT – The first new turbine at Box Canyon Dam should be up and running by Jan. 24, 2011. The original plan was to have it up and running by mid-March 2010.
The major delay has to do with the unit’s discharge ring. The ring has a part in improving efficiency and fish friendliness. It is welded to the casing that surrounds the turbine, and that weld hasn’t met specifications, according to Charlie O’Hare, Chief operating officer for the Pend Oreille Public Utility District (PUD). The first weld had cracks in it, and crews had to install a totally new discharge ring. It should be arriving soon.
"We are insisting on the quality we have contracted for, and we’re not willing to settle for anything less,” O’Hare said.
He admits that the district is "very disappointed” with the progress the contractor has made. O’Hare said the on-site work by Andritz America has been the problem. The PUD is happy with the quality of parts from Andritz Hydro based in Austria.
"We’re willing to sacrifice the schedule to ensure quality is met.” O’Hare said. "We feel the final product will be of a very high quality.”
O’Hare said there is no "appreciable” additional costs because of the delay. Andritz is contracted to fix any work and liquidate the damages if they don’t meet the specs. That means that any lost generation the PUD suffered because of the work delay should be reimbursed.
The $120 million project to replace all four of Box Canyon Dam’s turbines is the largest project in the dam’s 50-year license. All four turbines were to be installed by 2013, but with the delays, that target has been pushed back to 2014. The change will have to go through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Part of the second turbine is already being manufactured at plants all over the world. Construction on site won’t likely start until next summer.
Once the new discharge ring is in place, crews will begin reassembling the turbine. Once the turbine is complete (on Jan. 14, according to the plan) it will have a 10-day trial run before it’s operational.
Some fish studies that are also part of the relicensing projects were delayed a year until next fall.