Hydroelectric, New Projects, O&M

American Hydro to Increase Efficiency and Production at Grand Coulee Dam

By Editors of Power Engineering

American Hydro, a Subsidiary of Wartsila, announced plans to upgrade two pump units at the John W. Keys III pump generating plant at the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington. The upgrade will increase the efficiency, flexibility and production of the plant.

The Grand Coulee Dam is the largest hydropower project in the United States, generating more than 21 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. The modernization plan will help to achieve efficient plant operations, provide reliable irrigation delivery and allow for adequate flexibility to continue power reserve balancing and load shaping, eliminating the potential loss of public revenue and adverse effects on the regional economy from interrupted irrigation delivery and public power generation.

The project was awarded to American Hydro in August 2016 by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. During 2017-2019, the project will replace the pump impellers on Units 5 & 6. In addition, Wartsila will provide mechanical shaft seals for the pumps.

The plant has an output of 314 MW and is part of the 6,809 MW Grand Coulee Dam power complex, which also provides flood control and irrigation for the area.

“This effort is pivotal to the infrastructure modernization at the Keys Plant. The pump units will provide greater efficiency, flexibility and capacity in hydropower production and water delivery,” said Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López.

American Hydro provided replacement pump impellers for Units 1-4 at the Keys facility between 1988 and 2005.