By David F. Rooney
BC Hydro is transporting a mammoth addition to the Revelstoke Unit 5 Project — a 188-tonne turbine so large it must be transported up the Columbia River by barge to Shelter Bay.
Jennifer Walker-Larsen, of the utility’s Revelstoke-based office, said the seven-meter-wide device was made in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and was transported by ship to the U.S. where it was placed on a barge and sent up the Columbia River. By the time the 500 MegaWatt turbine reaches Revelstoke this week it will have travelled about 12,000 kilometres.
“The transport of the stainless steel Francis turbine is an exciting milestone for the Revelstoke Unit 5 Project currently under construction with a target completion date of October 2010,” Ken McKenzie, BC Hydro project director, said in a statement. “Once installed, the turbine will provide an additional approximate 500 megawatts of dependable capacity to the Revelstoke Generating Station, bringing the facility’s overall capacity to 2,480 megawatts.”
The turbine measures just over 7 metres in diameter. The turbine left the Brazilian Port of Santos on June 17, 2009. Currently it is on a barge at Kettle Falls, Wash. BC Hydro expects its journey by barge to the Shelter Bay ferry landing and then by truck to the Revelstoke Generating Station to be completed sometime between today and Thursday.
“The BC Hydro Revelstoke Unit 5 project team chose to transport the runner in one piece rather than two pieces to increase the quality and expected life of the stainless steel turbine” said McKenzie.
“However the resulting weight of the 188 ton turbine makes it challenging to move and the project team has been carefully planning its transport for well over a year.”
As part of that planning, water levels on the Columbia will be increased significantly for a day or two to allow the barge transport to pass.
Once the turbine arrives at Shelter Bay, perhaps as early as today, it will be moved onto a transport truck and driven to Revelstoke at night.
Because the turbine will take up the entire width of the road traffic along Highway 23S and Westside Road will be suspended to allow it to pass. This should cause little disruption as the giant machine will be moved between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
City Council today agreed to permit the closure of Westside Road when the machine, which is also depicted below, arrives.