Toshiba Corporation, a leading global supplier of hydro power generation equipment, announced that its US subsidiary, Toshiba International Corporation (TIC), has signed a major contract with Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison for the major overhaul of hydroelectric power equipment at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant in Michigan, one of the world's largest pumped-storage hydroelectric power plants. The contract has a value of approximately US$500 million.
Ludington Pumped Storage Plant was built between 1969 and 1973, and at that time was the world's largest pumped-storage hydro plant. It was initially completed with hydro power equipment from other manufacturers, but Toshiba has been selected as supplier for this upgrade, the most comprehensive in the plant's history. The scope of work covers the replacement of six 312MW pump turbines and upgrades of their motor generators and associated equipment and will boost output up to 50MW per unit. Installation of the new equipment will start in June 2013 and all units are expected to be commissioned and on line by the end of 2019. Design engineering for the project will be done at Toshiba's Keihin Product Operations in Japan, and most of the equipment will be manufactured at Toshiba Hydro Power (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd. (THPC), a consolidated subsidiary of Toshiba in China. The runner, the main component of the hydraulic turbine, weighs approximately 260 metric tons and has a diameter of about 8.4 meters, and is the world's heaviest and largest runner for a pumped storage hydro power plant.
Pumped storage hydroelectric generation supports electricity utilities in load balancing to meet fluctuations in electricity demand. Energy is essentially stored as the water that drives the turbines. During times of low demand, typically at night, the water is pumped from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir, and it is released to flow into a waterway and to drive the turbines during times of peak demand.
Toshiba Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of pumped storage hydroelectric equipment. Achievements to date include installation of hydroelectric power equipment at the Kannagawa power plant in Japan, which has a single machine capacity of 470MW, and the May 2010 award of a major contract to THPC for the supply of four 320MW pumped storage hydroelectric power plant systems for the Qingyuan Pumped Storage Power Station in China's Guangdong Province. The advanced technology and reliability of the units offered by TIC were a crucial factor in winning the Ludington contract, and also support Toshiba Group in enhancing worldwide sales of pumped storage hydro power equipment.
The U.S. is promoting long term energy security through a comprehensive power plant construction program that embraces nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power generation. The load balancing to meet demand fluctuations made possible by pumped storage has made it an important part of the power generation mix, and as a result US utilities are now promoting upgrades of existing pumped storage hydro power plants.
Toshiba positions the U.S. as a key market in the hydroelectric business, on the strength of the widespread rehabilitation of hydro power plants over 30 years old. TIC, established in 1967 to promote Toshiba's power plant systems and industrial equipment business in North America, promotes and manages its hydroelectric business from a dedicated office in Denver, Colorado. Installation work for hydroelectric equipment is carried out by Hydro Power Services, LLC. (HPS), based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. TIC owns a majority interest in HPS.
TIC has so far delivered a total of 39 turbines and 66 generators in the U.S. and Canadian markets and is drawing on this wealth of experience to win leadership in supplying equipment for hydro plant rehabilitation projects in North America.
Hydro power generation is the world's most widely used renewable energy source. In respect of energy strategy and achieving an optimized energy generation mix, Toshiba recognizes hydro power generation as equal in importance to nuclear and thermal power, including geothermal energy.
Toshiba Group will aim to secure more contracts in North America, and is also seeking to enhance its business in other key markets, including South America, China, India, and Southeast Asia, where demand for hydro power systems is strong.