GE Renewable Energy signed a Service contract with Avista Utilities, a US energy utility serving four northwestern states, to modernize four generator units at the Long Lake hydropower plant in the U.S. Upon completion of the refurbishment project, the facility will have an installed capacity exceeding 100 MW. This amount of energy is sufficient to meet the demand for electricity of approximately 80,000 homes.
“These units were installed in the late 1970’s and have served Avista’s customers well, providing clean, renewable hydro power,” said Mac Mikkelsen, Avista’s Manager for the Long Lake Hydropower plant. “They have a 40-year design life and are due for this kind of an upgrade. Long Lake is the largest hydroelectric facility on the Spokane River. It continues to play a vital role in facilitating the urban, industrial, and agricultural development of eastern Washington and northern Idaho.”
The main objective of the generator’s refurbishment is to maintain the overall plant equipment reliability for decades to come. In addition, the modernization of the units will increase the efficiency, performance and respond to the growing needs of the energy imbalance market (EIM) to better serve Avista’s customers. The EIM is a real-time wholesale energy trading market that enables participants anywhere in the West of the United States to buy and sell energy when needed, maintaining grid reliability and making excess renewable energy available to participating utilities at low cost rather than turning the generating units off.
The first modernized Long Lake unit is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2024 and the last one in 2029. The scope of the project includes the complete renewal and supply of the stators, poles, fans and spider/rim designs.
The cooperation between Avista and GE is based on a long-standing and established partnership. GE was already responsible for the modernization of the generators at the sister plant, Little Falls, which is located downstream on the Spokane River.
Pascal Radue, President and CEO of GE’s Hydro Solutions said, “I am delighted that Avista has renewed their confidence in GE’s Hydro Solutions. This close relationship enables us to clearly understand their needs and work side by side in order to provide a customized solution and execution planning that best meets their needs. For us, it is an honor and an obligation to be part of Long Lake’s history and to help ensure that this facility, which was an example of state-of-the-art hydropower technology since the early twentieth century, remains a critical part of the energy supply in the Northwest of the U.S. for many decades to come.”