Toshiba wins US hydro power equipment overhaul job

US$500m contract to overhaul major hydro power plant in Michigan

The runner, the main component of the hydraulic turbine that Toshiba will install is said to be the world's heaviest and largest.
The runner, the main component of the hydraulic turbine that Toshiba will install is said to be the world's heaviest and largest.

The Toshiba Corporation, a global supplier of hydro power generation equipment, announced that its US subsidiary, Toshiba International Corporation (TIC), has signed a major contract with Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison for the major overhaul of hydroelectric power equipment at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant in Michigan, one of the world's largest pumped-storage hydroelectric power plants. The contract is valued at approximately US$500 million.

Ludington Pumped Storage Plant was built between 1969 and 1973, and at that time was the world's largest pumped-storage hydro plant. It was initially completed with hydro power equipment from other manufacturers, but Toshiba has been selected as supplier for this upgrade, the most comprehensive in the plant's history.

The scope of work covers the replacement of six 312MW pump turbines and upgrades of their motor generators and associated equipment and will boost output up to 50MW per unit.

Installation of the new equipment will start in June 2013 and all units are expected to be commissioned and on line by the end of 2019. Design engineering for the project will be done at Toshiba's Keihin Product Operations in Japan, and most of the equipment will be manufactured at Toshiba Hydro Power (Hangzhou) Co. (THPC), a consolidated subsidiary of Toshiba in China. The runner, the main component of the hydraulic turbine, weighs approximately 260 metric tonnes and has a diameter of about 8.4 metres, and is the world's heaviest and largest runner for a pumped storage hydro power plant according to the Japanese company.

Pumped storage hydroelectric generation supports electricity utilities in load balancing to meet fluctuations in electricity demand. Energy is essentially stored as the water that drives the turbines. During times of low demand, typically at night, the water is pumped from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir, and it is released to flow into a waterway and to drive the turbines during times of peak demand.

The US is promoting long term energy security through a comprehensive power plant construction programme that embraces nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power generation. The load balancing to meet demand fluctuations made possible by pumped storage has made it an important part of the power generation mix, and as a result US utilities are now promoting upgrades of existing pumped storage hydro power plants.

TIC has so far delivered a total of 39 turbines and 66 generators in the US and Canadian markets. Hydro power generation is the world's most widely used renewable energy source.


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