Repairing Two Units at the Yelm Hydroelectric Plant
“What began as a unit inspection at a vintage hydroelectric project turned into a complete mechanical rebuild, with several challenges and change orders amounting to $1.2 million.”
“The city of Centralia, Wash., sought a 15- to 20-year maintenance solution in early 2010 for its 12-MW Yelm Hydroelectric Project, a run-of-river facility on the Nisqually River about 20 miles east of Olympia, Wash. The city has routinely maintained this 1930s facility, which supplies nearly a third of the city’s electrical needs.
Inspection uncovers significant issue
“What began as a simple unit inspection turned into a complete mechanical rebuild with significant challenges. Throughout the project, NAES coordinated with several vendors and suppliers to find solutions to every challenge that arose. In addition, the project team often had to make decisions with unclear or insufficient data, requiring expertise from all parties involved. A simple and routine inspection had instead delivered unexpected additional work, outage delays and project costs.
Early in the project, the team implemented a task/work order process to expedite the work and as part of a financial strategy to garner support from the city. City Council involvement was crucial for approving project expenditures all along the way. By the end of the project, six change orders had been written totaling $1.2 million, all approved by the council to ensure the facility would achieve the maximum benefit from dollars spent.
Unit 3 returned to commercial operation on January 17, 2011, and Unit 1 returned to commercial operation on June 16, 2011. Both units are running well today. The collaboration of all parties involved – the owner, contractor, various vendors and suppliers, and City Council – ensured a smooth and successful outcome to what turned out to be a challenging project,” quoting Jay Pickett, John Stender and Linda Fulsaas in Renewable Energy World.