GE Renewable Energy has announced that it has signed two hydropower contracts in the United States, one for FirstLight’s Northfield Mountain project and one for PG&E’s Caribou One hydropower station.
FirstLight has chosen GE Renewable Energy to design, supply, install and commission a new spherical valve at the 4 x 292 MW Northfield Mountain pumped hydro storage station, New England’s largest energy storage facility. The powerhouse can generate more than 8,700 megawatt-hours of electricity every day, the equivalent of 87,000 fully charged electric cars.
The new valve, which has a 114” internal diameter and weighs approximately 90 tons, will be designed to improve the station’s flexibility by allowing the unit to cycle approximately 10 times per day more often than it currently does. This flexibility is important given the increasing amount of intermittent wind and solar power being used in the region. The project, which is being supported by GE Renewable Energy’s Hydro teams in Denver is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
FirstLight Vice President of Operations Justin Trudell said “We’re excited to partner with GE Renewable Energy to help Northfield Mountain continue to provide critical flexibility to the New England electric grid. The states are investing huge resources in intermittent renewable energy development and large-scale energy storage facilities like Northfield are crucial to the success of the region.”
In addition, GE Renewable Energy announced that it had been selected by PG&E to replace a runner and shaft of the first of three 27 MW units. The runners, which are 12 feet in diameter and weigh approximately 25 tons, use a Pelton design. They feature stainless steel material for improved reliability and longevity. The equipment will be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.
The Caribou hydroelectric station, which was first commissioned in 1921, is one of several projects on the North Fork Feather River and its tributaries that is part of a system that provide hydroelectricity and water storage for irrigation in the Sacramento Valley.
“These contracts illustrate how GE Renewable Energy’s services teams can support US utilities in modernizing their existing hydropower assets and adapting them to the new operating modes required by the increasing penetration of renewables on the grid. The upgrades will enable both customers to continue to operate these valuable assets with in a more flexible and efficient manner consistent with the demands of today’s market”, said Pierre Marx, General Manager for GE’s Hydro solutions in North America.
Image credit: GE Renewable Energy