Strange things in the water: BC Hydro Turbines

It weighs more than 150 tonnes, is more than six metres wide, and according to Valemount resident Owen Torgerson, it’s proving the transport potential of the Kinbasket Reservoir.

Mica Generating Station’s new turbine will be arriving at its destination north of Revelstoke via Valemount come December.
Due to its size, the best route from Houston, Texas to the dam was through Calgary, Edmonton, Valemount and down Kinbasket Lake. The reservoir will be at full pond in coordination with BC Hydro.

Torgerson’s family’s company Spiral Contracting Ltd. will provide local equipment to ensure access and secure the barge at the staging area, the former mill site 12km down the lake.

“This is not your typical equipment move,” Torgerson says. “The road length is 212 ft long and the load weight is 557,000 lbs, that’s the equivalent of 2.5 locomotives in weight.”

Torgerson told Council last week the first turbine will be moved in December, and the second one next June.
He says the scope of the move highlights the great potential for moving both equipment and people from Valemount to Revelstoke. He suggests a car ferry or paddlewheel tours could cut down travel time to the Kootenays from an eight hour drive to three or four on the lake.

“I’m bringing it to you to highlight the importance of Kinbasket Lake in both a transport of equipment and potential equipment of people,” Torgerson says. “It’s a connecting factor in what could be our new federal region.”

Valemount Council plans to present a case for Valemount joining the Kootenay-Columbia federal riding. Valemount is likely to be bounced to the Prince George-Peace River from the current Kamloops riding. Mayor Andru McCracken believes Peace River has fewer common priorities, such as tourism.

That said, there is some concern about travel time and how to stay connected to the rest of the riding if separated by a six to eight hour drive.

Council responded positively to Torgerson’s idea.

“This is visionary,” Mayor McCracken said.

Torgerson says prior to the Ptarmigan and Hugh Allen being connected by the East Canoe forest service road (FSR), a barge was used to transport heavy equipment and logging trucks from the W. Canoe FSR.

Originally designed as a six-unit facility, the Mica Dam deferred the installation of generating Units 5 and 6. The two additional units which will together add 1000 MW – enough for 80,000 homes.

Unit 5 is anticipated to be in-service by October 2014 and Unit 6 is targeted to be online in 2015. Andritz Hydro is manufacturing the turbines in Germany.

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