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Granite Falls awards $1.3M bid for hydro turbines

Granite Falls City Council members awarded a $1.3 million bid to install two 250-kilowatt capacity turbines to replace 1930s-vintage turbines in the Granite Falls dam. The new turbines will operate alongside a 750- kilowatt turbine installed in the mid-1980s. Tribune file photo

GRANITE FALLS — Granite Falls City Council members awarded projects on Monday to replace two hydroelectric turbines and install an improved computerized system to operate its municipal electric operations.

The council members also called for a 15-year, $1.99 million revenue bond issue to finance the projects, according to City Manager Bill Lavin.

He said current projections indicate that the city will be able to finance the improvements without raising electric rates.

Council members approved a $1,346,000 bid by Robert L. Carr Company, of Marshall, to install two 250-kilowatt capacity turbines. They will replace two 1930s-vintage turbines of similar size that are no longer functional.

The two new turbines will operate alongside a third, a 750-kilowatt turbine installed in the mid-1980s.

Replacing the two aged turbines will provide the city with greater flexibility in its electric generation, according to Lavin. During periods of high flow on the Minnesota River, the city will be able to generate electricity by running all three turbines. At lower flows, the city can continue to produce power while operating one or two turbines. The two smaller units can operate at flows well below those required by the 750-kilowatt unit.

The council action included approving a not-to-exceed $189,000 contract with Barr Engineering for engineering services.

The $1,346,000 bid was below an engineer’s estimate of $1,650,000 for the turbine project.

It will likely require about one year’s time before the new turbines can be acquired and installed.

Council members also awarded a low bid of $140,519 to CG Automation of Springfield, N.J., for a SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition system, for the municipal utilities system.

The city is tapping $200,000 in municipal reserve funds to reduce the amount of financing needed for the project. The city is including contingency amounts of $168,250 for the hydro and $24,000 for the SCADA systems in the call for financing.

Dan Burdett

Dan Burdett is the community content coordinator at the West Central Tribune. He has 13 years experience in print media, to include four years enlisted service in the United States Air Force. He has been an employee of Forum Communications since 2005, joining the company after spending two years as the managing editor of the Redwood Gazette and Livewire in Redwood Falls. Prior to his current position, Dan was the presentation editor at the Tribune.

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