Don Pedro Life Extension & Upgrade

Investing in the future

The Don Pedro Hydroelectric Project is a well-designed, well-built and well-maintained piece of critical infrastructure, which has provided TID customers with safe, affordable, and reliable energy for over 50 years. As with all infrastructure projects, components of Don Pedro have a useful lifespan and must be maintained, repaired or replaced in order to prolong the integrity of the facility.

With the cooperation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the California Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD), the Don Pedro Project embarked upon a Life Extension and Upgrade Project in 2010. Once complete, the facility will essentially be “like new” and ready to convey irrigation and flood flows, and generate reliable and carbon free energy for another 50-plus years.

Overall Project Objective

TID, along with Project partner Modesto Irrigation District, began the lengthy process of evaluating electrical and mechanical components of the Powerhouse to address aging and obsolete equipment. The Districts made the proactive decision to begin the multi-year Life Extension Project to refurbish and upgrade all systems before any major failures occurred. The objective of the Project is to achieve safe and reliable plant operation for another 50 years.

Generation Upgrade and Modernization

The Don Pedro Powerhouse consists of four vertical Francis generation units. Units 1-3 are currently rated at 55.1 MW, and Unit 4 is rated at 37.9 MW. The Project scope includes an uprate of Units 1-3 to be capable of 75 MW each, and refurbishment of Unit 4. All four units will be modernized with more efficient turbine runners, and a digital plant control system.

Balance of Plant Life Extension

In addition to the generation units, other “Balance of Plant” equipment is necessary for the function of the plant, and was in need of investment. Nearly 40 independent “systems” received a condition assessment, risk evaluation, and project scope identified for either replacement or refurbishment depending on the condition and criticality of the system. 

A few examples of these systems include:

Aerial view of Don Pedro reservoir

The power tunnel fixed wheel gate, which is used to isolate the power tunnel for emergencies or maintenance. The project included a new gate, hoist and hydraulic power unit. The gate is 17-ft wide and 21-ft tall, and weighs roughly 165,000-lb. (2015-2017).

Don Pedro life extension and upgrade construction work

New turbine shutoff valves (TSVs) were installed upstream of each generation unit. TSVs 1-3 were replaced with 108-inch diameter butterfly valves. TSV 4 was a new installation, and is 72-inch in diameter. (2018-2022).

Water level view of Don Pedro powerhouse

The 125-ton powerhouse gantry crane is being refurbished and upgraded to 150-tons to accommodate the modernized (and larger) generators. (2022-2023).