Since its completion in 1953, the hydropower plant at Fort Randall, South Dakota, has had multiple upgrades to increase the functionality of the dam – and recently, another project was given the green light. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with Voith Hydro North America, held a major unit rehabilitation partnering meeting to discuss a collaboration on the Ft. Randall hydropower plant project.
After two decades of planning, the USACE Omaha District finalized a contract for upgrades to the hydropower dam at Fort Randall. Leaders, project managers, and engineers from the District met with leadership from Voith to discuss the goals and expectations of the contract.
“It is vital for both teams to come together and understand what the project success factors are,” John Seifarth, Voith chief operating officer, said.
Voith has been contracted to manufacture and install eight new Francis turbine runners and generator stator rewinds for units one through eight at the Fort Randall Dam. When completed, the upgrades will allow the hydropower plant to increase its output to approximately 50 megawatts: up from 40 megawatts. To put that in perspective, according to the Electric Power Supply Association, on average, one megawatt of power generates enough electricity to meet the needs of 750 – 1000 U.S. homes.
“The opportunity to provide a high efficiency hydroelectric facility that is current to standards is vitally important to serve the nation,” Ted Streckfuss, Deputy District Engineer, Omaha District, said. “This meeting provides the foundation and the bedrock for a successful relationship that is going to take the better part of the decade to fully execute. We want to ensure that we get off on the right foot with the contactor.”
According to Streckfuss, all parties want to ensure that this $150 million construction contract is successful. For USACE success is pretty easy, a happy contractor and a happy government.
“It’s why we are here; to service the nation’s toughest engineering problems,” he added.
For the contractor success includes no safety issues, no on-site quality issues, schedule compliance and budget performance.
“We are very grateful for the project,” Seifarth said. “To perform this work in the U.S., using U.S. workers, steel, machines, and know-how – it’s an honor for us to participate.”
Contract work began in January 2022 with hydraulic design and model testing. The field installation work will begin once the first runner is manufactured and delivered to the site. The estimated completion date is December 2031.