News Release Archive

Reclamation Awards Contract To Replace Glen Canyon Dam Turbines

Media Contact: Barry Wirth, 801-524-3774,

For Release: January 07, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $25 million contract to a Colorado firm for the replacement of the key components of the eight hydroelectric generating turbines at Glen Canyon Dam. "Replacing the turbines ensures that Glen Canyon Dam will continue to support the economy of the Colorado River Basin states by efficiently generating electricity," said Reclamation Commissioner John Keys. "At the same time, Glen Canyon Dam provides critical water storage for the benefit of the seven basin states." Keys pointed out that the original turbines have been in service for 40 years.

The contract, for $25,140,213, was awarded to Alstom Power, Inc, of Littleton, Colorado. Work will be performed over a period of 10 years on one generating unit at a time.

The Glen Canyon Dam Power Plant is one of the most productive hydroelectric power plants in the United States. The eight 155,500-horsepower turbines require about 4,150 cubic feet-per-second of water from Lake Powell to operate at full capacity. With all eight units at full output, about 15 million gallons of water passes through the power plants penstocks each minute. The nameplate capacity of the power plant is about 1,304,000 kilowatts.

The principal work on the Francis Type Hydraulic Turbines will include replacement of the runners, wicket gates, stationary wear rings, and furnishing spare stationary wear rings for the new turbines. This work will involve the disassembly and reassembly of the generators, done by Reclamation, and the disassembly and reassembly of the turbines, done by the contractor.

The impact to power production by this work will be lessened by the ongoing drought and the subsequent drawdown of Lake Powell. Because of the lower water elevation and the minimum releases from the dam, the power plant has not been operating at full capacity the past several years and is not likely to do so until Lake Powell refills. Having one unit a year out of service will not impact the scheduled generation or water releases under those hydrologic conditions.

Lake Powell is currently 47 percent full, with 11.4 million acre-feet of water in storage. That is 105 feet below full. Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin is currently 115 percent of average, with the latest spring inflow forecast for Lake Powell calling for 90 percent of average inflows.

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