Wärtsilä’s American Hydro is upgrading two units of the John W. Keys III pump generating plant at the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, US.

Work is being carried out as part of a contract awarded in August last year by the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation in August last year. The upgrade will see an increase in the efficiency, flexibility, and production capacity at the plant.

As part of the upgrade, the impellers installed on Unit five and Unit six are expected to be replaced during the period of 2017-2019. Wärtsilä will also provide mechanical shaft seals for the pumps.

The John W. Keys III pump generating plant is capable of producing 314MW of energy and is part of the 6,809MW Grand Coulee Dam power complex, which generates more than 21 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

“The plant is expected to provide reliable irrigation and flexibility to continue power reserve balancing and load shaping.”

Wärtsilä’s seals and bearings business development director Lee Martindale said: “Combining Wärtsilä’s advanced seals and bearings technology with American Hydro’s leading knowledge of servicing hydroelectric and water distribution industries, we can now better support our customers in hydro upgrades and plant rehabilitation.”

Following completion of the modernisation, the plant is expected to provide reliable irrigation and flexibility to continue power reserve balancing and load shaping.

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The John W. Keys III plant currently features 12 pumps, which lift water from the Columbia River up the hillside to a canal that flows in to Banks Lake. This provides irrigation water to more than 670,000ac in the Columbia Basin Project.