GE Renewable Energy signed a Design Build Agreement with Chelan County PUD, a US public utility, to start the design process for the rehabilitation of eight Bulb generating units at Rock Island Powerhouse 2 in the US. The main objective of the Powerhouse 2 rehabilitation is to maintain the overall plant equipment reliability for the next 40 years using innovative and environment-friendly solutions, two important factors that guided the development of a new GE’s hydro solution. As part of the rehabilitation, GE Renewable Energy will provide a new oil-free runner solution. Traditional runners use oil as lubricants, by avoiding that the GE design eliminates the risk of oil leaking into water passing through the runners.
Rock Island Dam is the second-largest of three hydroelectric sites operated by Chelan County PUD that owns and operates one of the nation’s largest nonfederal, customer-owned hydroelectric generating systems. The eight horizontal Bulb generating units in Powerhouse 2 are the only such turbines on the Columbia River and one of the few in North America. The hydro project is located near the geographical center of Washington State, on the Columbia River. The second powerhouse can generate enough electrical power to serve a city the size of Vancouver, Washington, plus the rest of Clark County.
The design is expected to be completed in late 2020. The work to rehabilitate the eight generating units is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2030.