Corps to replace McNary turbines

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

March 25–UMATILLA — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $321.3 million contract for the complete replacement of the turbines at McNary Dam.

The contract is believed to be the largest ever awarded by the Corps’ Walla Walla District, said Gina Baltrusch, public affairs specialist. The largest previous contract, about $64 million, had been awarded in 2009 for replacement of a major component of the McNary Dam powerhouse.

The contract with Alstom Renewable US LLC is to design, manufacture and install the 14 main unit turbines at the dam. The turbines have been in operation for more than 62 years, since the dam went into operation.

The existing turbines will continue to operate on average for another seven years until the new turbines are manufactured and installed. The contract is expected to be completed in approximately 14 years, Corps Project Manager Shawn Nelson said in a release.

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Corps officials said the contract award culminates three years of research, planning, design and acquisition to replace and modernize the existing turbine runners and associated equipment. The project goals include increasing fish survival, hydraulic capacity, turbine efficiency, operational flexibility and reliability.

McNary Dam was authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945 and commissioned in 1954. Each of the 14 turbines in the powerhouse can generate 70,000 kilowatts for a total of 980 megawatts. One megawatt serves approximately 700 homes, and at full capacity McNary’s powerhouse can supply enough electricity for about 686,000 homes.

Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. Damon Delarosa said the contract award “is a significant accomplishment for our district and the region. The recapitalization effort at McNary Lock and Dam is one of my top priorities for 2018.”

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.
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