Monster transformers for Mica

Four of seven giant transformers destined for BC Hydro’s Mica dam arrived in Revelstoke on Sunday, November 3. Each transformer is roughly 4 metres tall, 3 metres wide, and 5 metres deep and weighs 106 tonnes. The transformers will support generation from the two new generating units currently being installed in Mica’s underground powerhouse. The transformers are steel tanks with an electrical core and many layers of copper windings. Jennifer Walker-Larsen photo courtesy of BC Hydro
Here’s the truck that will carry each transformer. Jennifer Walker-Larsen photo courtesy of BC Hydro
Workers laboured all morning Wednesday to load one of them onto its trucks. Once the new generating units start operation at Mica, the transformers will convert the electricity they produce to a transmission voltage of 500 kilovolts. BC Hydro is working towards an in-service date of 2014 for Mica Unit 5 and 2015 for Mica Unit 6. The new units will provide an additional 1,000 megawatts of capacity when it is needed most – at peak demand periods during those cold dark winter days.
David F. Rooney photo
The transformers were manufactured in Varennes, Quebec by ABB. Getting the transformers the 150 kilometres from the CPR railyard in downtown Revelstoke up Highway 23 North to Mica requires careful planning and some heavy duty hauling equipment. The transformers will be transported by truck to Mica. The specialized trailer that will be used is designed to haul up to 175 tonnes and has 96 tires to spread the weight of its load. BC Hydro encourages motorists to please use caution if you are travelling on Highway 23 North and be aware that there may be periodic lane closures in effect to allow truck transports. Jennifer Walker-Larsen photo courtesy of BC Hydro