Ivyland, PA – Ludvik Electric has awarded a contract to American Governor Company (AGC) to design, manufacture, and commission four (4) digital governor upgrades for the Central Arizona Project (CAP)-owned Waddell Pumped Storage Project, located 25 miles northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. CAP is a hybrid state/federal project created in the 1970s to deliver water from the Colorado River to central and southern Arizona via a 336-mile long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants, and pipelines. The Waddell Pumped Storage Project was started in the mid-1980s and was used to ‘bank’ water off the canal for use later in the year. Primarily used for Peak Shaving during the hot summer months, Waddell operates nearly constantly from May through September, pumping water from the canal into the upper reservoir at night, then releasing it back into the canal and generating electricity during the afternoon peak load periods.
Four (4) variable speed Pump/Generating units were commissioned in 1992, sharing the plant with four (4) Pump-Only units. The Pump/Generating units are currently controlled by Woodward MOD II Analog governors with an unusual Two-Speed Speed Signal Generator (SSG). Highly unusual – then and now in North America – depending on canal flow and upper reservoir head, the units could either Pump or Generate at two distinctly different speeds. In order to ‘trick’ the analog governor into not realizing that the turbine-generator was actually running at a different speed, the SSG had two ring gears with relay logic to select which prox probe signal would be fed to the governor. Woodward also custom-engineered a specialty circuit board to ‘condition’ the MW feedback signals to the analog governor, depending on whether Hi or Lo speed had been selected. This turned out to be the Achilles Heel of the governor: the circuit board became instantly obsolete when the first digital governor was introduced to hydro. Fast forward some 35 years later, when CAP suffered a failure in one of these boards. Luckily they had a couple spares on hand and used one to get the unit running again, but when they found out that AGC had no history on this board and could not find any replacements, anywhere in the world, CAP started getting nervous: the next failure of one of these boards could put a unit out of service for six months!
Other portions of the powerhouse were also aging so CAP put together a long-term schedule of what should be replaced and when. In the spring of 2015, AGC was called in to perform a general inspection of all four governor systems and to prepare a budgetary proposal that detailed scope and price for everything CAP would need to complete Governor Modernization. AAGC was advised that the governor project was slated to begin in mid-2017 and we’re delighted to have been award the contract. AGC has committed to have the first unit back online by June 1, 2018, with the remaining units installed and commissioned during the Winter 2018/2019 outage season and back online no later than April 30, 2019.
About American Governor Company
American Governor Company provides fully engineered digital governor conversion systems for hydro plants, including PLC-based digital controls, electro-hydraulic valve manifolds, hydraulic power units, electronic feedback devices and unit/plant control and monitoring systems. Installation, start-up, commissioning and field training services are provided by our staff of experienced governor specialists and field service engineers. American Governor also provides full support for legacy governor systems, including a complete line of replacement parts for all types of Woodward governors and a growing inventory of new and reconditioned parts and assemblies for other OEM governors. American Governor offers Field Service, Training, Retrofit kits and Technical Support for legacy governors. The Training and Repair Facility near Stevens Point WI offers factory repair services for governor pumps and permanent magnet generators as well as our annual Governor School and twice yearly Focus Classes. American Governor has provided more than 600 digital governor upgrades and has supported over 1,500 hydropower plants in North America.