PECO Energy Co.'s Peach Bottom Nuclear Generation Plant assured the summer capacity of its six 390-MVA single-phase main generator step-up transformers by installing upgraded transformer oil coolers and, thereby, assuring power plant generation capacity during summer peak load periods. The transformer coolers, designed and manufactured by Unifin International Inc., lowered the temperature of the transformer cooling oil by up to 23 degrees C (73.4 degrees F) from previous conditions. This will allow for normal plant operation even for the loss of a transformer cooler.

Before the cooler replacement, because of inefficient transformer cooling caused by cooler degradation and fouling, PECO sometimes operated during periods of the summer with excessive transformer oil and hot spot temperatures. Over the years, on several rare occasions, plant generation had to be temporarily reduced for short periods to avoid excessive loss of transformer life before the coolers could be cleaned. Continuing to operate with the existing coolers would have resulted in further cooler degradation over time to the point where the transformers might have been unable to carry plant generation during peak summer conditions even when cleaned. In addition, operating under present conditions, a major reduction in generation capacity would have occurred for the loss of a transformer cooler during peak summer loads.

Fiber Loop II Controls 41.4 MW of Wind Energy The Foote Creek I 69-turbine wind farm, located at Foote Creek Rim, Arlington, Wyoming, U.S., was placed in commercial operation on April 22, 1999. SeaWest WindPower Inc., San Diego, California, U.S., developed and constructed the facility for PacifiCorp, Portland, Oregon, U.S., and the Eugene Water & Electric Board. The facility provides sufficient electrical power to meet the needs of 25,000 typical residential customers.

The Fiber Loop II fiber-optic data communications system connects the 69 wind turbine generators (WTG) and five meteorological towers (MET) to the supervisory control and data acquisition master via a self-healing redundant main fiber ring with two subrings. The network supports two independent communication protocols, one for the WTG and the other for the MET.

SeaWest has selected H&L Instruments to provide fiber-optic transceivers to an expansion of the Foote Creek facility, totaling 36 turbines for the Bonneville Power Administration and Public Service Company of Colorado.

WESCO Response Keeps Power on in Seattle From Aug. 3-5, 1999, residents of Seattle, Washington, U.S., endured the full force of nature's power. A succession of lightning storms-some among the most powerful in Seattle's history-rained electricity down on the city. In a four-hour period, more than 1000 lightning strikes were recorded, according to The Seattle Times. All told, more than 2000 lightning strikes were recorded.

The storms wreaked havoc on Seattle City Light, the nation's seventh-largest publicly-owned electric-utility company. The utility experienced approximately 500 damaged pole-mounted transformers as a direct result of lightning strikes, leaving 10,000 customers without power. In a normal year, states Jean Johnson, Seattle City Light's senior material controller, we may have 20 to 30 overhead transformers damaged by lightning.

The utility quickly staffed up to handle the downed and damaged transformers, sending crews out to work through the night to restore power. Yet, the emergency depleted Seattle City Light's supply of transformers.

"Repairing and replacing the storm-damaged transformers was quickly draining our inventory with which to handle additional transformer problems associated with the lightning storm," Johnson said, "and left us with little product to deal with ongoing transformer failures.

"On average, we install approximately 30 new ABB overhead transformers every month," Johnson added, "Every day without product causes us problems." As a contract supplier for Seattle City Light, WESCO Distribution Inc. was asked to respond to the emergency request for 290 transformers and to expedite and double the company's ABB Distribution Transformer Division order for the fourth quarter.

Seattle City Light's transformers are built to spec and manufactured unlike any other transformer in the country. This results in a normal production time of 21 weeks including delivery.

After the call from Johnson at Seattle City Light, WESCO immediately opened up communications with ABB. Within 24 hours, ABB's facility in Athens, Georgia, U.S., refocused its shop schedule and rescheduled maintenance activities to free up the production line. Materials were expedited for assembly and Saturday, Sunday and overtime shifts were addedto the work schedule to meet the utility's emergency needs. Within seven days, previously unscheduled orders for newly manufactured transformers, per Seattle City Light's specs, were on their way to Seattle.

The first shipment of 60 transformers arrived in Seattle 10 days after Johnson's initial phone call to WESCO. The remainder of the order followed shortly thereafter.

Helicopter Safety Course The Utilities Patrol and Construction Committee of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) will present its ninth annual "Flying in the Wire Environment" on Jan. 23, 2000, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. The one-day course, held in conjunction with Heli-Expo 2000, is aimed at helping utility helicopter pilots and patrolmen to operate safely as a crew on patrol. All attendees will receive a free pass to Heli-Expo 2000, the world's largest exposition of helicopters and related products used in the utility industry.