Reclamation Awards $26 Million Contract for Third Powerplant Capital Improvement Project at Grand Coulee Dam

Media Contact: Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503
John Redding, (208) 378-5212

For Release: October 06, 2009

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $26 million construction contract as part of the Third Powerplant Capital Improvement Project at Grand Coulee Dam located on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Wash.

The contract was awarded on October 2, to the Gardner Zemke Co. of Albuquerque, NM.

These new transformers will replace six transformers at Grand Coulee Dam's Third Power Plant. The transformers presently in use have been in continuous service since 1975, and are in deteriorating condition and considered to be unreliable.

In addition to furnishing and installing six new transformers, the contract will require removal and storage or disposal of the existing transformers, and modifications necessary to accommodate the installation and operation of the new transformers.

"The Third Powerplant improvements are needed to ensure continued operation and reliability to provide electrical power in the Pacific Northwest," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. "The economic impact of interrupted public power generation would be substantial if these generating units are not repaired."

Grand Coulee Dam's generators produce enough electricity to supply more than 1 million homes in an average water year. The project also provides about one-quarter of the total generation of hydroelectric power for the Federal Columbia River Power System.

Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942, and today serves as a multipurpose facility providing water for irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, hydroelectric power production, and flood control.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.