While the John Hart Generating Station project brings local benefit in terms of employment and economic stimulus – not to mention the power it will generate and the additional seismic stability it affords our water supply – there are components of this massive project being worked on all over the world, according to BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.
“Construction of this large hydroelectric facility requires a lot of lead time and comprehensive coordination from beginning to end between BC Hydro, our contractor InPower BC, and their suppliers in some cases located around the globe – from design and manufacturing, shipping, to the installation of the specific equipment,” Watson says. “You can’t just buy these things off the shelf somewhere. They are unique to each facility in terms of water flow volumes and water flow management in achieving the right sizing and performance of the hydroelectric equipment.”
These components are complicated and the timeline of the production of the facility is on a carefully coordinated timeline, so the logistics of getting them designed, manufactured, delivered and installed are very carefully considered well in advance, and many require long lead times to ensure they arrive when they are needed.
Not only are the scheduling and lead times carefully considered, but so is the quality control of the manufacturing process, Watson says.
“We have a comprehensive project agreement with InPower BC, which works with their detailed quality program, so that at the end of the day BC Hydro has a well performing facility that will last many decades.”
InPower BC, as part of its project bid, identified and secured some of the top manufacturers in the world to make the parts for the generating station, Watson says. There are only a few companies worldwide that make the turbine-generation equipment required for this facility, for example, and GE/Alstom was selected as the turbine-generator supplier for the project. People are currently working on these turbines not only here in Canada, but also in places like Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and China.
Watson says to make sure they get the right project operational outcome from the components, key people from the project visited a site in France where GE/Alstom created a small-scale model for the testing and verifying of the conditions for the three new John Hart turbines. And the model outcome worked out very well, Watson says, giving them confidence in the final product.
He also says the new turbine runners provide an example of the manufacturing coordination required.
The initial forging of the runners was done in Germany and most of the manufacturing is taking place in the Czech Republic. Then the two halves of each runner will be put together, through final welding and a measurement check in Quebec. The equipment will then be trucked across the country for installation here.
Pieces of the various hydroelectric equipment have already been arriving on the John Hart site and that will continue into 2017. The project continues through at least 2018.
GE/Alstom was selected as the manufacturer of the three generator turbines (seen here in a BC Hydro animation video) that will be use in the John Hart Generating Station.