JAMESTOWN, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2019) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Wolf Creek Dam Power Plant staff recently accomplished an extremely rare uplifting repair action to fix one of the plant’s power units.
The hydropower repair team at Wolf Creek Dam removed a 230-ton rotor in mid-January to gain access to another damaged component. Only one member of the team had ever experienced being a part of the heavy lift.
The district’s Electrical Service Section and Power Plant Electrical staff discovered that one of the unit’s field poles had failed during a routine annual inspection. To access the damaged field pole to send it off for repairs, the team removed the generator’s rotor from the unit housing utilizing the powerhouse crane designed to lift 250 tons.
Anthony Watters, Wolf Creek Power Plant superintendent said, “The decision for our staff to disassemble the unit… allowed our staff to exercise and demonstrate their skills and knowledge of the facility and generating unit.”
The repair action is notable because removing a generator’s rotor in a power plant is not something the staff gets to witness or perform every day.
Tony Foster, senior electrician at Wolf Creek Dam, last had the chance to remove a rotor back in the 1980’s. With the latest rotor removal, Foster served as the crane operator and lifted the unit out of its encapsulating housing. It marked only the second opportunity to lift a rotor in his long career with the Corps of Engineers.
The process to remove the unit housing, rotor itself, and removal of the damaged pole took nine days. The team placed the heavy rotor on the specifically designed storage pedestal and now awaits the damaged field pole to be refurbished and installed.
“As the unit was disassembled and the rotor was pulled the pride shown on the faces of our staff was awesome,” said Watters. “What an honor it is to have such an excellent team that is able to accomplish some of the nation's most unbelievable engineering feats.”
Watters noted the discovery of the damaged field pole prevented future damage from occurring to the generator’s windings. When a generator’s windings have to be rewound, it can be an extensive and costly process to complete from beginning to end. Extracting the rotor cut the generator’s down time from producing electricity by several months.Wolf Creek Dam helps control flooding in communities downstream, but also produces electricity for the surrounding Kentucky area. The yearly electrical energy produced by the power plant’s generators is sufficient enough to feed an average city with a population of 375,000 people.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.) The public can also follow Lake Cumberland on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lakecumberland.)