Reclamation Awards $4 Million Contract to Upgrade Transmission Line Relay System at Grand Coulee Dam

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

For Release: August 03, 2012

A new relay system for high voltage transmission lines running between 230-kV and 500-kV switchyards will be completely installed by April 2014 GRAND COULEE, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $4 Million design and construction contract to Burke Electric, Belleview, Wash., to replace a 30-year-old relay system that protects and monitors high voltage power lines linked to Grand Coulee Dam's generators and switchyards.

The Bonneville Power Administration is funding the project which includes installing a new relay system for seven transmission lines between the 500-kV and 230-kV switchyards and Grand Coulee Dam's Third Powerplant. Work also includes furnishing and installing several miles of fiber optic cable for relay communications between the switchyards and power plants.

"Upgrading these transmission lines is essential to improving our infrastructure at Grand Coulee Dam and sustaining a steady supply of hydroelectricity throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond," Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said today. "This investment to modernize one of the nation's key renewable energy facilities will also bring jobs and an infusion of new dollars for the local economy."

Construction will begin this fall and will be completed by April 30, 2014.

Grand Coulee Dam, completed in 1941, it is a multi-purpose facility and a key feature of Reclamation's Columbia Basin Project. Power facilities at Grand Coulee Dam include 33 generators in three power plants, a pumping plant and three switchyards.

The rated electrical capacity at dam is 6,809,000 kilowatts: making it one of the largest hydropower producers in the North America. It also provides water to about 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project.

Photo Caption: "A new relay system for high voltage trasmmission lines runing between the 230-kV and 500-kV switchyard will be completely installed April 2014."

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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.

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