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September 26, 2012
Cheoah Dam Modernization Project Commissioned
New generators, turbines, transformers provide increased efficiency
ROBBINSVILLE, N.C.--Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and U.S. Department of Energy officials yesterday
commissioned the $110 million modernization project at Cheoah Dam in
Robbinsville, NC, one of four hydroelectric dams that make up Alcoa
Power Generating Inc.’s Tapoco Project. The modernization effort has
increased the dam’s efficiency and energy output and increased the life
of the facility by at least another 40-50 years.
“This project demonstrates a partnership and cooperation among private
industry and government to protect and sustain renewable energy for
future generations,” said Mark Gross, Alcoa Power Generating Inc. Hydro
Operations Manager. “The Cheoah Modernization project directly supports
green energy growth, the use of renewable energy resources and enhanced
DOE objectives for the project specified that ultimately, the full
four-unit modernization would result in a 28 percent increase in
generating capacity. “We are pleased to be able to announce that Cheoah
Dam has actually demonstrated a 50 percent increase – from 88 MW to 132
MW,” Gross added.
In addition to the capacity improvements, the modernization efforts have
eliminated the use of circuit breaker oil and minimized the need for
transformer oil, resulting in a net decrease in total oil volume in high
voltage equipment of almost 40,000 gallons. And by using air-cooled
transformers, cooling water requirements have dropped by 122,000 gallons
The modernization project received a jump start when the U.S. Department
of Energy awarded Alcoa a $12.95 million grant as part of the 2009
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. DOE’s Office of Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy issued the grant. U.S. Department of
Energy representatives - Matthew Hess, Renewable Energy Technologies
Project Officer; and Erik Mauer, Wind & Water Power Program Senior
Engineer - joined Gross at the commissioning ceremony.
The overall project includes upgrades to four of the dam’s five power
generation units, along with process and utility systems, such as
transformers, switchgear, power and control wiring, piping and fire
protection equipment. Another two units will be upgraded during phase
two of the project and are estimated to be completed by spring of 2013.
Alcoa Energy is a global producer, controlling nearly 3 GW of generating
capacity to provide for the energy needs of Alcoa’s worldwide smelting
and refining system as well as the needs of regional wholesale markets.
The business includes Alcoa Power Generating Inc, which currently owns
and manages the 351-megawatt Tapoco system.
In June of this year, Alcoa announced that it had reached an agreement
to sell the Tapoco Project to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners. The
transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary
aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina. In addition to inventing the
modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major
milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and
construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and
industrial markets over the past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa
markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings,
as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment
castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other
light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys.
Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and
the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has
been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for eight
consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum
ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs
approximately 61,000 people in 31 countries across the world. More
information can be found at www.alcoa.com.
Alcoa Power Generating Inc. (“APGI”) is a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Alcoa Inc. ("Alcoa"), the nation’s (and the
world’s) leading producer of primary aluminum and fabricated aluminum.
APGI exists primarily to generate, purchase or manage electricity for
Alcoa’s use in its aluminum smelters and other industrial processes.