Turbine upgrades improve production at a Hawaii on-site hydro plant

20 May 2010 - A 4 MW hydroelectric plant in Hawaii, that supplies Kauai Coffee Company’s power operating needs while also providing 6% of the island of Kauai’s total power generation, has had a major turbine upgrade from GE Energy.
 
Located on the north shore of Kauai, the Wainiha power plant’s two 1906-era Pelton hydroelectric turbines have been in continuous operation for over 100 years.
 
Keeping the old fly-ball governors running efficiently and correctly became increasingly difficult in recent years, with malfunctions resulting in costly repairs and downtime.
 
Kauai Coffee Company needed an upgrade solution that could update the governors to a modern digital control and support the continued life and maintainability of this important company asset.
 
GE Energy’s Control Solutions business upgraded the legacy mechanical control to a state-of-the-art ‘Mark Vie’ digital control with a modern hydraulic pressure unit. Upgrading the legacy control to an electrical interface was accomplished by adding an electro hydraulic interface proportional valve.
 
The new system completely automates all of the plant functions and allows for touch screen operator interface, automatic online synchronization, and remote monitoring of all associated field devices.
 
The new Mark VIe is more dependable, easier to maintain, and more efficient, allowing hundreds of thousands of additional kWh of electricity to be generated each year, says GE.
 
Combined with reduced start-up time, overall power production at the plant increased by 5% to 10%. Excess power is sold to the local utility on Kauai and is an important source of revenue for the company.

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