Modernizations under way at France's 5-MW Pont Baldy hydropower plant

Energie Developpement Services du Brianconnais (EDSB) is modernizing its 5-MW Pont Baldy hydroelectric plant in Briancon, France.

Alstom is working on the rehabilitation, replacing the automatic voltage regulator with a digital control system known as "SMARTGEN." This regulator can produce electricity at constant voltage, allowing the Pont Baldy hydropower facility to remain operational and free of downtime caused by voltage fluctuations that result in power outages.

Alstom says the system is "perfectly suited to the specific requirements of owners of small hydro power stations" and that when paired with maintenance diagnostic software, it can "help operators to independently intervene and retain control of equipment maintenance."

The company says it took three days to replace Pont Baldy's previous voltage regulators. Pont Baldy was commissioned in 1966 with a 5-MW horizontal Francis turbine supplied by Alstom that produces 18 GWh of electricity annually.

Alstom installed a new speed regulator at Pont Baldy in 2006 but says the installation of the SMARTGEN system is the first step in a new modernization project.

EDSB also operates the Roche Percee and Le Randon hydropower plants, which supply power to more than 11,000 consumers in Briancon and Saint Martin de Queyrieres.

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