Work on Carmen Smith hydro upgrades delayed


November 19, 2020

Chinese and Canadian sources impact 40-year license renewal









MCKENZIE BRIDGE: Turbines won’t be spinning nor will boaters be launching for a few more years. That’s because refurbishment work at the Carmen-Smith hydro plant has been delayed.

In a report delivered to the Eugene Water & Electric Board for their November meeting, the utility’s generation manager Mike McCann noted that design issues and manufacturing at fac-ilities in China were affecting General Electric’s ability to deliver equipment needed for the overhaul of one of the facility’s turbine generators. GE also advised EWEB that performance testing had revealed manufacturing defects that might reduce the longevity of new generator coils sourced from a Canadian supplier. Both issues have resulted in at least a one-year delay in the timeline for the generator upgrade.

Despite that setback, McCann said the utility’s staff was, “Making good progress on planning for reliability improvements necessary at the Trail Bridge Plant. These reliability improvements will focus primarily on the outdated electrical and control systems, much of which is original.”

The Trail Bridge Plant will be needed to convey water to the McKenzie River during major spillway/gate modifications that are scheduled to take place in 2023 and 2024 for downstream fish passage.

Besides being used during the construction work, the Trail Bridge site is also needed whenever the spillway is out of service for inspections, maintenance, and improvements to the downstream fish passage facilities. “And finally,” McCann noted, “the plant will need to continue to serve as the reliable low-level outlet for Trail Bridge Reservoir in the event of any possible dam safety concerns that necessitate lowering of the lake level below the elevation of the spillway.”

Other work in progress includes completion of 90% of the design for both upstream and downstream Trail Bridge Dam fish pass-age. Plans call for upstream passage to be accomplished via a trap and haul system located at the tailrace of the Trail Bridge Plant. Downstream passage will add a new radial gate to the existing spillway that is designed to meet both fish passage criteria and be able to pass flood flows when needed. “The completion of fish passage in a timely manner remains an important issue to regulators and EWEB, and we are working to shorten the construction schedule with their cooperation,” according to the report.

Recreational improvements are

being finalized as well. The refurbished campground plan calls for accessible features with both tent and RV camping. Construction will take place in 2021 and 2022 but Trail Bridge Campground will remain closed until the hydro improvements allow safe access to the campground.


Image (EWEB): Refurbishment of the power generation systems at the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s  Carmen-Smith hydroelectric facility continues under a 40-year license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.



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