Power management company Eaton announced contracts to lead life extension and electrical modernization projects at four hydropower facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Eaton received the contracts from Aponte Power Services, which is working directly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District.

The projects will help the dams along the Cumberland River continue generating sustainable electricity to meet residential and industrial electrical needs, while also supporting flood control and water supply.

The contracts include the design, manufacturing, delivery, installation and commissioning of electrical distribution, protection and safety systems at the Old Hickory, Barkley, Dale Hollow and Laurel hydroelectric sites. To help optimize the performance of the aging facilities, Eaton will replace legacy powerhouse equipment with new technology including power transformers, high-voltage circuit breakers, motor control centers and innovative arc flash safety solutions.

“Many hydroelectric generating plants in the U.S. have surpassed typical design life and can benefit greatly from the implementation of modern power management strategies,” said John Stampfel, vice president and general manager, Electrical Engineering Services and Systems Division, at Eaton. “By drawing on years of hydroelectric modernization experience, Eaton is well positioned to help optimize hydroelectric assets for simplified maintenance, improved operating cost and advanced safety.”

Under the contract, new circuit protection equipment will be equipped with Eaton’s Arcflash Reduction Maintenance System. The innovative solution is designed to improve safety by providing a simple and reliable method to reduce fault clearing time and incident energy levels. Eaton will also perform Arc Flash Limiter conversions on existing switchgear assemblies. The retrofit is designed to eliminate the cost of replacing entire switchgear breaker sections while providing the ability to lower arc flash levels and significantly improve safety for maintenance personnel.

To further enhance operator safety, Eaton will equip the U.S. Army Corps hydroelectric facilities with remote racking devices. By using the remote racking devices, motor control centers and switchgear can be opened and closed remotely, allowing maintenance personnel to configure equipment outside of the arc flash protection boundary. Eaton will perform all electrical system upgrades in a staged approach to minimize downtime and expects the project to be completed September 2017.

Eaton’s expert, highly scalable and geographically diverse staff has the expertise to support electrical modernization projects at hydropower facilities. The projects in Kentucky and Tennessee are among several recent hydropower generation projects awarded to Eaton, including a $5.4 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, to lead a life extension and electrical modernization project at Philpott Dam in Bassett, Virginia.