Expanding into the future: GM Shrum Station service rehab

2017-01-19 - Hydro Review article by Marie Armstrong (ABB), Zuobin Donald Tang and Indra Kusuma - October 1, 2016
Hydroelectric power is the backbone of British Columbia’s energy mix. More than 85% of the electricity on the transmission grid is supplied by large hydropower plants. The oldest and largest of these hydro facilities is the 10-unit, 2,730-MW GM Shrum Generating Station, owned by Crown provincial utility BC Hydro.

Originally built in the 1960s, GM Shrum is on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia, about 90 km west of Fort St. John. W.A.C. Bennett Dam impounds the water for the GM Shrum station. The powerhouse is 889 ft long by 154 ft high by 66 ft wide and provides about 25% of BC Hydro’s total electricity production.

In 2005, BC Hydro embarked on an extensive multi-year, multi-project upgrade of the plant to realize gains in reliability and efficiency for several key generating components and controls. Among the work performed was: electrical upgrades, transformer replacements and unit improvements. Additionally, dam infrastructure improvements including spillway chute repairs and rip-rap upgrades are under way.

BC Hydro engaged ABB Canada to replace and innovate the station’s services with new medium voltage/low voltage (MV/LV) switchgear, protection relays, transformers, motor control centers (MCCs), power distribution, diesel generators provided by BC Hydro and all associated cabling. ABB was responsible for system studies, equipment design, demolition, installation and commissioning. ABB used safety by design and included state-of-the-art features such as smart technology and network hooks for integration into a future supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, relay-based auto transfer scheme and arc flash protection on the MV and LV switchgear.

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