Voith Hydro has been awarded a US$38.9 million (320 million Norwegian Krones) contract by Sira-Kvina kraftselskap DA to upgrade the control systems at its Tonstad and Solhom hydroelectric power stations.

Work will involve upgrading and modernizing the control systems and electrical auxiliary systems for the two plants, with old relay control systems upgraded to state-of-the-art Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)-based ones. In addition to the control systems for the power units there are also protection and control systems for complex medium- and extra high-voltage systems.

The Tonstad power plant is Norway’s largest when it comes to average annual production (3800GWh). It therefore plays an important role in Norway’s energy supply and was integrated to the energy grid already in 1968. The incremental commissioning of the upgraded technology will take place annually, starting in spring 2017 with auxiliary systems. The new control systems for all five units will be commissioned from 2018 to 2022.

Works at the Solhom hydropower plant will run partly parallel with auxiliary systems commissioned in 2019 and new control systems for the units to follow in 2020 and 2021. The Solhom power plant has an average annual production of 695GWh generated by two Francis turbines. Together Tonstad and Solhom cover the energy demand of roughly 230,000 households.

“This is a really exciting and demanding project. There are several technical challenges and we always have to consider that the other units in the power plant will be in full operation during the modernization. However, thanks to our experience and close collaboration with the customer, our highly dedicated team will be able to successfully complete the project within the scheduled time period,” said Torgeir Myrvold, Project Manager for Tonstad and Solhom.

Voith Hydro AS CEO Frode Moen added: “We are very satisfied being awarded this prestigious project by Sira-Kvina. It is among the largest stand-alone automation contracts awarded within the Norwegian hydropower market.”