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PUD plans system upgrades

Two new installations are aimed at maintaining or improving reliability of power supply and delivery to Northern Wasco County People’s Utility District customers.

At the PUD’s small hydropower project on The Dalles Dam’s fishway, a new emergency generator will provide station service when the main generator is offline. The PUD will also be constructing a new control building at its Second Street substation.

“When you’re generating power at a power plant, part of that energy is used for what they call station service — lights, pumps and other power in the facility,” explained Dwight Langer, PUD general manager.

When that facility is offline, for maintenance or other reasons, it needs an alternative source of energy to provide station service.

The PUD has been relying on the Corps of Engineers’ substation for the dam to provide that station service, but that facility has exceeded its life span.

“At this point, they are looking at trying to get us off it to extend its life because it will have less load,” Guidinger said.

The 125-kilowatt standby generator will be situated so that it can serve both the existing 5 megawatt facility and a future "Freedom Project" of the same size, should it gain approval.

Guidinger has been working with a consultant to obtain plans and specifications for the standby generator.

Guidinger will meet with potential contracts in a prebid meeting on site Friday, June 13, to talk about the uniqueness of the project and expects to get bids back for award at the July board meeting.

At the Second Street substation, located next to Northern Wasco County School District’s bus barn, the PUD has awarded the bid to Christenson Electric, Inc., of Portland, for a new control building.

“It’s part of our overall capacity improvements program,” Langer said.

The project will include building an enclosed building and upgrading the control systems at a cost of $378,119. A separate relay panel replacement is not part of that bid and Paul Titus, PUD assistant manager, estimated that would add another $100,000 to the project. He estimated completion of the project for September.

“It gives us more system robustness,” Langer said. “Upgrading the equipment will increase our switching capability, power and energy monitoring capabilities and overall reliability.”

Substation improvements have been ongoing over the past few years.

“We monitor every substation,” Langer said. “They are checked frequently and we are replacing equipment as part of our preventive maintenance program. We want to identify system that, because of age, need to be upgraded, which again increases reliability and increases our coordination within our system.”

At the same time, the improvements allow the PUD to take advantage of available equipment upgrades to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

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