Work will see the installation of new runners and the complete refurbishment of two Francis turbines and, on completion in 2006, an increase in the plant’s generating capacity from 142.3MW to 152.5MW.

There is also to be an increase in weighted efficiency of almost 2%. The Messaure project marks the first application of GE’s proactive runner replacement initiative.

Equipment is to be shipped from facilities in Canada and Brazil beginning in June 2005 with the commissioning of the first unit expected that October. The second unit is to follow in 2006.

The contract follows the recently completed upgrade of turbines at the Mauranger hydro plant in Norway. Work valued at US$2.75M included the upgrade of two six-jet, vertical Pelton turbines, the supply of two new runners, the upgrade of six injectors and six annular valves for each turbine and a model test of the upgraded units.

Each turbine is now capable of generating 134MW, up from their previous capacities of 115MW, with increases in efficiency of 7%.

The two Scandinavian contracts were announced at the HydroVision 2004 conference currently taking place in Montreal, Canada.

GE has also announced the addition of the Bently Nevada Air Gap Sensor to its hydro turbine generator condition monitoring solution.

Monitoring air gaps provides personnel with an early warning of potential problems and helps condition-based maintenance by allowing users to schedule and plan for repairs.

The sensor is a specially designed capacitive proximity probe that mounts on the inner bore of a hydro generator stator. Multiple sensors provide in-service measurements of the distance between the rotor and the stator in both new and existing generators.

The technology, says GE, provides the operator with the information needed to remove a machine from service before serious damage from magnetically induced overheating or rotor-to-stator rub occurs.

Separately, an 18MW Kaplan turbine at the California Department of Water Resources’ Alamo plant has been installed with GE’s Atlas 3D Cam turbine control solution.

The technology combines the Woodward Atlas programmable logic control with proprietary hydro control algorithms to create a customised controller.

The new configuration, which replaced the obsolete analogue 3D cam board in the existing Woodward Mod II 3D Cam function, provides automatic blade positioning to enable more efficient turbine operation.

The modular hydro control system manages the blade position as a function of the available head and gate position, and is expandable to cover all governor and balance of plant processes, as operational and maintenance control needs increase.

The Atlas 3D Cam also enables simplified online index testing making increased water efficiencies by best matching current water flow possible. According to GE, updating the curve data in the control system allows the Atlas 3D Cam to automatically move turbine blades to the most effective position, resulting in increases in efficiency.