Hydro Generation Enjoys Successful Year

Eastman Falls Hydro Station

PSNH’s Hydro Generation division logged another successful year in 2011, finishing 7 percent ahead of its long-term average of generation output. PSNH owns and operates nine hydroelectric facilities throughout New Hampshire. These 100 percent renewable energy resources combine to produce 65 megawatts of electricity for PSNH customers.

The division was able to achieve this accomplishment, says Hydro Generation manager Bob Gundersen, through a combination of hard work and excellent operation and outage management. The weather assisted as well, with above average rainfall. In fact, the annual 55.14 inches of annual average rainfall in the Northeast produced the wettest year for the region in 117 years.

Making the hydro team’s accomplishment even more impressive was overcoming the nearly three-month loss of its single biggest unit, Smith Hydro in Berlin, following an electrical breaker fire at the unstaffed station last September.

The performance of emergency responders and PSNH staff to the fire was a success story in and of itself. A PSNH line crew along with the company’s Electric System Control Center in Manchester quickly isolated the station from the power supply, allowing the Berlin Fire Department to safely fight the fire. A PSNH Root Cause Investigation Team is working to fully understand what caused the breaker fire and how to minimize the chances of similar events occurring in the future.  The team expects to complete their analysis this month.

After repairs at the Smith Hydro Station were completed, the unit when back online on December 30. The unit now has state-of-the-art protection and controls, new main and station service breakers, new power leads, and improved internal control circuitry.

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