BC Hydro photo
Turbine runners in the Prince Rupert inner harbour on Dec. 2 are offloaded from a shipment from Brazil. The turbine runners are to be transported to the Site C dam construction project near Fort St. John along Hwy 16.
Turbine runners in the Prince Rupert inner harbour on Dec. 2 being offloaded from a shipment from Brazil to be transported to the Site C dam construction project near Fort St. John. (Photo: supplied by BC Hydro)

BC Hydro photo Turbine runners in the Prince Rupert inner harbour on Dec. 2 are offloaded from a shipment from Brazil. The turbine runners are to be transported to the Site C dam construction project near Fort St. John along Hwy 16. Turbine runners in the Prince Rupert inner harbour on Dec. 2 being offloaded from a shipment from Brazil to be transported to the Site C dam construction project near Fort St. John. (Photo: supplied by BC Hydro)

Massive turbines for Site C unloaded in Prince Rupert

Oversized load turbine runners will create Hwy 16 closures between Prince Rupert and Peace River

The first shipment of two turbine runners for a massive hydro-electric construction project near Fort S. John had been unloaded in Prince Rupert.

The turbine runners are being shipped through the inner harbour and stored in the city on their way to the BC Hydro site C Dam.

The turbines are part of a $47 million contract awarded to Voith Hydro Canada in March 2016 for the design, supply, and installation of six vertical axis, Francis-style turbines. The first shipment of two turbine runners arrived in Prince Rupert on Dec. 2 after leaving Sao Paulo, Brazil on Oct. 29, where the Voith manufacturing facilities are located.

“The runner is the rotating part of a turbine (like a fan or a windmill) that converts the gravitational energy of falling water into mechanical energy, which then spins a generator to produce clean hydroelectric power,” Dave Conway community relations manager for the Site C project told The Northern View.

“The turbine runners are the heaviest unassembled single project comments of equipment related to the generating station,” Conway said. “Each runner weighs approximately 170 tonnes and measures 26 ft. (eight meters) wide and 17 ft. (five meters) tall.”

Design and construction of the turbines are unique and individual to each site, Conway said.

READ MORE: Site C powerhouse contract awarded

Transporting the equipment is a major undertaking and took cranes, and barge-like vessels to transport them off the ship to dry land in Prince Rupert.

The macro-machinery is destined for transportation to the Site C dam construction in January, for installation in the spring of 2022, Conway said. The moving from Prince Rupert to Fort St. John may take a couple of weeks. Transporting the turbine runners has been contracted to Omega Morgan, a company that specializes in large load transportation. Moving the machinery will occur at night when Hwy. 16 can be closed in portions to ensure the safe and very slow-moving of the oversized load.

The delivery date of the next two shipments is not yet confirmed Conway said, but one is expected to arrive in the spring of 2021 and the final in the summer of 2022.

The Site C Clean Energy Project is a hydroelectric dam and generating station under construction in northeast B.C. BC Hydro is building Site C to meet long-term electricity needs in the province. Once complete in 2024, the project will provide clean, reliable, and cost-effective electricity for more than 100 years.

READ MORE: Work begins on Site C generators (with video)