FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Hydro has provided updates on how projects are currently going or what future projects are projected to look like.
The first upgrade BC Hydro listed was to the GMS powerhouse at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. The upgrades are set to increase oversight from 64 alarm points to 1,000 points. They are also replacing unit controls for units 1 to 10.
“Governor controllers for Units 6 to 10—these control the water flow through the turbine to regulate the shaft speed of the generator; exciters for Units 9 and 10—these control the current through the generator field winding to regulate the output voltage of the generator; controls for intake systems; controls for plant auxiliary systems; GMS plant central control room; and remote operation controls for GMS and the PCN Generating Station.”
Upgrade work for units 1, 2, 3 and 5 has been completed and upgrades for unit 4 started in February of this year.
BC Hydro has also added upgrades to the W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre.
“The new exhibits include the Our Story, Our Voice gallery within the visitor centre; it speaks to impacts of the creation of the Williston Reservoir on Aboriginal Peoples, taking visitors on an emotional journey back in time, to before, during and after the valley was flooded in 1968. The gallery also features a powerful documentary video, created by the Kwadacha Nation, called Kwadacha by the River.”
They say that more than 7,000 visitors came through the updated centre in the 2016 season.
The W.A.C. Bennett Dam is already undergoing many projects, or they will start soon. The projects are part of Hydro’s plan to invest approximately $2 billion a year, over the next decade, in B.C.’s electricity system.
The main project that is undergoing is upgrades to the dams rip-rap.
“There has been steady deterioration of the rip-rap, which is made up of large, boulder-sized rocks that protect the upstream slope of the dam. Upgrading the deteriorated portions of the rip-rap will ensure long-term dam safety, erosion protection from ice and impacts from wind and waves in the Williston Reservoir.”
In May 2016, Hydro received approval from the B.C. Utilities Commission for the project.
Hydro is also upgrading the W.A.C. Bennett Dam spillway gate reliability, Peace Canyon Dam spillway gate reliability, W.A.C. Bennett Dam spillway chute upgrade phase 2 and W.A.C. Bennett Dam core casings.