WHEN ASSETS DON'T PERFORM THE WAY THEY SHOULD
The Tesla Hydropower plant in Colorado Springs, USA, located on the grounds of the US Air Force Academy and produces 28 megawatts of electricity by harnessing the energy of water flowing from Rampart Reservoir. That’s enough electricity to serve 15,000 homes.
The plant didn’t have the best of starts in its operating life. Since its installation in 1997, the plant experienced a series of unfortunate disruptions and failures. The customer was concerned by rapidly climbing partial discharge levels following a recent generator rewind by others.
GETTING FULL POWER BACK ONLINE, FAST
In stepped GE in 2013 to identify and solve the problems. Top teams of engineers carried out extensive assessments of the source of the issues: the stator winding.
After four intensive days of testing, GE’s team recommended a ‘phase reversal’, in order to extend the life of the winding. The repairs on site necessitated a three week outage.
“Stator failures at the Tesla plant were leading to faults in the generator’s insulation, causing partial discharges, which lead to a loss in overall output,” said Bill Maher, Operations Manager at Colorado Springs Utilities. “In short, the plant was not putting out nearly as much power as it should.”
Since the repair, Tesla has seen a significant drop in partial discharges. The generator is commercially online and reaching its potential, helping thousands of homes in Colorado Springs stay plugged in.
GE still has their back: engineers have continued to follow up on the Tesla plant.