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PROJECT: Hydro Power Plant Refurbishment & Upgrade Project

For this project, services were provided for a Project Manager and Lead Control System Engineer for an EPC contract (Engineer, Procure, and Construct) with a west coast city to resurrect an abandoned 3.5 megawatt capacity hydroelectric power plant facility. The facility ceased operation in 1998 due to numerous design, maintenance, and operational issues. In addition, the power house sustained a major flooding event in December of 2005 inundating all of the plant equipment up to an elevation of approximately four feet.

Under the senior management and control system guidance, engineers and construction craft completely refurbished all damaged, obsolete, and nonfunctional pieces of equipment from as large as the turbine/generators to as small as individual flow transmitters, switches, and relays. There was not a single system in the power house that remained untouched at the completion of this project.

A major challenge that was overcome was the replacement of obsolete and nonfunctional mid 1980s electronic and computer controlled equipment. These included the following:

- SCADA and plant controls upgrade to Allen-Bradley PLC
- Generator excitation equipment upgrade to a Basler Voltage Regulator
- Westinghouse generator protection relays upgrade to Schweitzer relays
- Auto Synchronization device upgrade to a Basler Auto Sync device
- Upgrade of the Transfer Trip communication devices including recloser

In general terms, lead Project Management and expert control system engineering services were provided for a complete plant rebuild. This included engineering design, construction and operation. All the work scope was completed even though this plant that had been historically problematic. The end result was to upgrade the plant to a proven standard demonstrated by the extensive years of experience in the power generation utility industry.

RESULTS


• Responsible for the full operation of all aspects of the plant controls system for the hydro unit since the client no longer had any site experts still living and limited documents. The work resulted in achieving the responsibility of site system expert.

• Reverse engineered the existing PLC controlled turbine, shutoff valve, and load controls as presented in ladder logic. Drew this logic up in Microsoft Visio into a Boolean logic format. This became the basis for the new upgraded logic in the A/B PLC's.

• Completed a full assessment of the abandoned remote river flow monitoring system. Researched alternatives for an upgraded design.