Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) has announced it will install modified Ristroph fish protection intake systems from Evoqua Water Technologies at its Black Dog generating facility located in Burnsville, MN. The new equipment is expected to significantly increase biodiversity in the region through the protection of fish species and seasonal larvae.
Upon completion of the installation, which is expected to be operational in 2016, Xcel Energy will be among only a handful of facilities in the country meeting the impinged fish protection requirements of the EPA’s new regulations implementing Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, which establishes requirements for cooling water intake structures to minimize adverse environmental impacts utilizing Best Technology Available (BTA). The requirement impacts 1,065 existing facilities across the U.S., including 544 power plants.
The Black Dog generating facility will install eight Evoqua fish-friendly screening systems, which utilize the industry’s only non-metallic modified Ristroph baskets. The Evoqua system prevents small fish from entering the plant’s water intake and cooling system and returns them to the river, allowing them to continue movement downstream. The baskets are seasonally interchangeable with fine mesh panels, used to protect larvae. The installation is expected to begin in the fall of 2015 and to be complete in 2016.
“Xcel Energy’s leadership in fish protection and in the installation at their Black Dog power generation facility takes that commitment to the next level,” said Dr. Mirka Wilderer, General Manager of Evoqua’s Separation Technologies business. “Xcel Energy has been using our fish protection system at its Allen King, Minn., unit since 2007, but will now take that protection proactively to yet another site including the ability to swap in finer mesh screens if needed for seasonal larvae protection as well.
In addition to its fish protection efforts at Allen King, Xcel Energy has been using an earlier version of Evoqua’s fish and larvae protection system at its Prairie Island, Minn., facility since 1982. With the Black Dog upgrade, Xcel Energy will install the latest technology that uses non-metallic baskets, which are up to 50 percent lighter than traditional steel baskets, thereby reducing hanging weight, motor torque, and requiring substantially less maintenance and operating costs.
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