N.L. Hydro preparing for arrival of new turbine

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Utility on track with required winter prep: spokeswoman

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has started to prepare the site at the Holyrood power plant where a new, 100-megawatt combustion turbine will be installed later this summer.

 

And it is not the only piece of work keeping employees of the utility on the hop.

Construction of a base, a foundation, for the turbine started on June 9, according to Hydro spokeswoman Erin Squires. It is expected to be completed before the unit arrives at the site in mid-August.

The turbine is being obtained and installed, at a cost of about $119 million, to supplement the island’s existing power supply and act as a backup as needed during peaks of power demand.

In addition to preparing for the new turbine, Hydro staff are completing standard summer maintenance.

And they are working through maintenance and reporting re­quirements set out by the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (PUB), in response to blackouts experienced on the island as a result of failures in Hydro’s system in January.

“Hydro is well into its annual maintenance activities with two generating units out for maintenance at Holyrood and a number of hydroelectric units already completed. It is on track with all items outlined in its own review, as well as the PUB review,” stated an emailed response to questions Tuesday.

“Hydro recently filed an update to its integrated action plan (which outlines all actions identified by both Hydro and the PUB’s consultant Liberty Consulting) outlining the status and schedule of all items,” the spokeswoman stated. “In addition, Hydro has filed reports, as requested by the PUB, on several action items, including the plan to address transformer and breaker maintenance which had been deferred in recent years to address other priority work. This work will be continuing throughout the summer and into the fall, with everything planned to be completed prior to the end of November.”

As of June 19, Hydro has added roughly $14 million in new capital budget requests for this year to the mix.

 

Work undone

The fresh filings at the PUB are something Danny Dumaresque — an intervener in the PUB’s ongoing review of the province’s main power system — says show Hydro falling behind in its required work, preparing for the coming winter.

“These problems have been known since January and failing to have these applications before the PUB until now seriously questions whether these critical repairs and spare parts will be here when required,” he stated.

However, the utility has suggested the timeline for the filings was reasonable and concerns are unfounded at this point.

“Two of the supplemental capital applications (Sunnyside transformer and Western Avalon transformer) are related to equipment damaged during the January 2014 supply disruption events. Since that time, Hydro has assessed options, completed preliminary engineering work and has tendered for the equipment to enable deliveries and construction completion prior to next winter,” stated the utility’s spokeswoman.

“The three other supplemental capital applications address additional items that arose since January that need to be addressed before next winter to ensure continued reliable electricity supply.”

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities

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