BC Hydro has completed the upgrade/refurbishment of its 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum hydro generating station, at a cost of $272 million.
The Canadian provincial utility reports the work was completed about $100 million under budget. Five of the 10 generating units were refurbished, making them more efficient and allowing the facility to generate more power using the same amount of water, BC Hydro says.
“GM Shrum generating station is the workhorse of B.C.'s hydroelectric system. This facility alone generates 25 percent of the total power produced by BC Hydro annually and can generate enough power for more than a million homes each year," said Bill Bennett, minister of energy and mines. "These upgrades will allow BC Hydro to generate power for an additional 16,000 homes."
The facility uses water impounded by W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River. Many of the units date back to the 1960s.
Construction work started on the first unit in spring 2012. The work was completed as one capital project, back to back, and each unit was returned to service as work was completed. The final unit went into service in October.
Upgrades to three of the other units were completed from 2009 to 2012.
BC Hydro is in the midst of a major capital program that involves investing, on average, $2.4 billion a year over the next 10 years in the province’s electrical system. The plan includes the construction of new infrastructure and upgrades to existing infrastructure. BC Hydro is installing new units at the 1,085-MW Mica generating station and replacing the 121-MW John Hart generating station, which began operating in 1947. (For more on the work being performed at John Hart, see the December 2015 issue of Hydro Review.)