When we started rehabilitating hydroelectric plants 30 years ago, no one offered permitting services or was willing to reverse-engineer a vandalized 100 year old low-speed generator. So we did it ourselves, and this became the basis of a wonderful and continuing education. We have installed miles of high pressure 12” line at high altitudes with horse-only access. We have installed 30” penstock cabled to the wall of 200’ high cliffs. We have built the longest clear span and highest off the ground aerial tramway in Colorado (for hydro-plant access). We have replaced dozens of electro-mechanical relays with solid state units. We have rebuilt turbines, poured large sleeve bearings and rewound generators. We have installed underground 30kV cable (and used old pipelines to pull power cable through without any ground disturbance). All this in avalanches, snow and rock-fall, in mountains high and cold. We have found just the right used machinery for low budget hydro developments both in the USA and abroad (there is actually a lot of used hydro equipment out there). We have run plants at 10,500’ elevation in the middle of the worst avalanche chutes in the country and have maintained headwater access roads via snow-cat to 13,000’ elevation. The headwater level controllers we built have the finest available control range anywhere and our remote monitoring gives complete information on each plant without wasting operator time on un-necessary field visits. We have economically operated very small plants (a 200kW plant is either a very big hobby or a very small business), developed the world’s first ice climbing park as a recreational resource, and developed a pool of consultants and subcontractors that we have great faith in. We can put on our suits and go to Washington to meet FERC or put on our coveralls and shovel out the slime of a wheel-pit.
Leaky dams and silted-in ponds, spalled concrete, corroded penstocks, broken trash-racks and mis-aligned shafts; all wet and not very glamorous. We are worker bees; we have never been the lead article in Hydro-Review.
If you have millions of dollars and a green-field site, call Black and Veatch, or MWH, or the like; they do great work (if you overlook the Silver Lake and Taum Sauk disasters) and Voith makes great new machines (if you truly like the squeal of speed increasers). If you have a low budget, an old, tired plant and heavy iron; the slow, ancient, broken machines of earlier times, we are probably the folks you need. We are not very slick; we deal in the difficult and the obsolete. But we make them work. Quietly and efficiently and well; this is something we take great pride in.