Snare Rapids Hydro unit remains offline for foreseeable future

Workers inspect Snare Rapids hydro unit. (Supplied by NTPC.)
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The Snare Rapids Hydro Unit that shut down on February 2nd will remain offline for at least a month if not longer according to the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

NTPC says the unit could potentially be out of service through the remainder of winter.

The unit went offline last week when sensors detected issues within the hydro generator. The failure of equipment in the main generator caused the original shutdown.

After an inspection by staff, NTPC determined that a significant amount of work will be required before the unit can be returned to service.

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The generator at Snare Rapids was originally constructed in 1948 and the source of the failure was last upgraded in 1986.

NTPC President and CEO, Noel Voykin says mechanical and other failures are likely to become more frequent as assets reach the end of their design life.

“NTPC has been able to extend the life of assets through maintenance and repair but has now reached the point where reliability will continue to decline without significant capital investment,” he adds.

Voykin says the daily cost of replacement diesel is weather dependent and can fluctuate widely as the result of changes in temperature.

“There was heavy power demand in the North Slave region last week due to extremely cold weather, but demand has decreased significantly over the past several days with rising temperatures” he adds.

The total cost of the shutdown and a return to service date are both unknown at this time.

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