RusHydro has announced that a new hydropower unit was commissioned and put into commercial operation in July at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant, adding 640MW to the plant's available-for-use capacity.

The new unit is the third newly manufactured one placed into commercial operation at Sayano-Shushenskaya. Currently, the working capacity of the plant is 3200MW or half of the full design capacity, with five 640MW units in operation. Assembly of a new unit is underway. Two of the four old units, restored after a fatal accident at the plant in August 2009, have been decommissioned and will be replaced by new ones.

The rehabilitation schedule for Sayano-Shushenskaya calls for commissioning of three hydro-units per year until 2014. Eventually, the plant will be fully equipped with brand new up-to-date equipment with enhanced performance characteristics that meet all safety and reliability requirements.

Power Machines and RusHydro entered into a contract to produce basic power equipment to restore the plant in November 2009. Under terms of the contract, Power Machines will produce 10 hydropower turbines, nine 640MW hydropower generators and six excitation systems (one new generator and four excitation systems have been produced and installed at hydropower units launched after the completion of renovation repair work in 2010).

The useful life of the new units has been extended to 40 years and maximum efficiency now reaches 96.6%. They also have improved energy and cavitation features. The turbines will be fitted with a more efficient process protection system, which will automatically shut down the unit in case of any inadmissible deviations from controlled parameters.