Anaheim Generator Breaks Down : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

A powerful repair project CITIES: Heavy lifting is required after Anaheim's 6.5-ton generator breaks down.

March 11, 2000

By FELIX SANCHEZ The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM  When your circuit breaker trips at home, you grab the flashlight, find the fuse box and flip it back on.

But when a $28 million, 6.5- ton combustion turbine generator trips at the Anaheim power plant, there's a little bit more involved than a flick of the wrist.

Fixing these gas-powered engines can only be done at three places in the world: New Zealand, Germany and Miami. So the logistics of getting it repaired can be almost overwhelming.

Anaheim's 18-foot-long generator, which basically amounts to a 747 jet engine in ground-based housing, was recently removed from the city's power plant at La Palma Avenue and Glassell Street, and shipped by cargo plane to Germany for repairs. A 70-ton crane was needed to gently lift it from its housing.

The city has but one power generator, but electrical service is unaffected because the 50-megawatt turbine produces only 10 percent of the 570 to 600 megawatts of power the city might need during peak usage.

Anaheim's generator is relatively small  it's the only 50-megawatt turbine in the western U.S. power grid  but produces big savings.

Like a growing number of cities, even those with their own utility departments, Anaheim is allowed to buy electricity from a number of consortiums, including San Onofre and Hoover Dam.

But getting the generator back by the beginning of the summer season is a priority because, like the price of gasoline, the cost of electrical power can spike during high-demand seasons, like the summer.

During the summer, Anaheim relies on the generator, bought in 1991, to produce cheaper power when consumer demand is high. During the winter months, Anaheim uses the generator to make power it can sell to other cities and the Idaho Power Corp. consortium.

Anaheim is the only Orange County city with its own electrical and water utilities, and the operating budget of $35million doesn't include the variable cost of buying electricity. It serves more than 300,000 residential and 15,000 commmercial and industrial customers.

The turbine's inlet gearbox, which triggers the generator to begin spinning at its 10,000 revolutions-per-minute speed, malfunctioned and tripped the generator offline Jan. 5. Electricity from other sources kept consumer power from being interrupted.

The city will lose about $150,000 per month in revenue while the generator is down. City crews removed it for shipment in early February to the MTU Maintenance-Berlin-Brandenburg GMBH plant in Ludwigsfeld, Germany. The company bid $297,264 to repair the generator, said Brian Thomas, Anaheim Public Utilities general manager.

To get the generator to Los Angeles International Airport for its cargo flight, GMBH sent a special transport truck, with an intricate set of shock absorbers so the turbine's dozens of rows of compressor and turbine blades weren't thrown out of alignment.

"It has to be balanced. It can't be bouncing up and down," Thomas said.

Repairs begin next week on the turbine and should be done in time for shipment back to Anaheim by May, officials said.

-- cin (, March 12, 2000

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