It takes an impressive combination of nature and technology to generate electricity at Idaho Power’s 17 hydroelectric facilities. Many of these plants have been in operation for the better part of a century, and the generators are remarkably durable. But even these reliable machines require maintenance, and this summer, crews are refurbishing one of three units at Bliss Power Plant on the Snake River.
The rebuild—which includes a rewind of the copper coils inside the generator core—is a complex project that takes about a year to complete. Most utility companies contract out jobs of this magnitude, but by keeping the rebuild in-house, Idaho Power saves money, assures quality control and gains valuable internal insight into how the unit operates.
While the rebuild takes place, the plant’s other two generators are still up and running. For now, the third unit is vacant, leaving a large void that is usually filled by machinery and the flow of the mighty Snake River. It is a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the hydro plants that form the backbone of Idaho Power’s generating fleet.
Watch an eNews segment on the rebuild project.