A loadbank from UK-based manufacturer Crestchic has been installed at a reservoir in Alaska as part of a $10 million hydroelectric plant expansion project.
The five-megawatt loadbank is being used by the Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA) to maintain electrical load and prevent spillage onto the construction site at the 22MW Swan Lake hydroelectric facility.
Crestchic said: “When SEAPA planned to expand the plant’s spillway, from about 86,000 acre-feet to 111,800 acre-feet, it identified the need to rent a loadbank to ensure electrical load was available during the project to control water levels.”
“Normally, during times of high inflows and low electrical loads, excess water, an average of 35,000 acre-feet, is released over the spillway,” Crestchic said. “During construction, when the spillway would be out of use, water levels needed to be managed to avoid spill.”
Crestchic said its rain-resistant loadbank, which is designed with the transformer inside “to step down the voltage to a safe level”, ensures “at least one, and usually two, generating units could consume water and prevent spill”. “Traditionally, most resistors cannot work in wet conditions and can require elaborate protection, which can be costly,” the company said.
SEAPA said Swan Lake will generate an additional 12,000MWh of energy on completion of the expansion project.