|Malibu Hydro...Project Update Notes
This page reports on the latest progress being made on the Malibu Hydro project. Most recent activity is presented first. It is important that you click on "refresh" each time you visit, or you may be just viewing data stored in your computers cache memory.
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System running without problem. Minor adjustment made to water flow control to reduce errosion from water discharge. The lake outlet is clogged with logs which Beyond will be removing this month.
Sept 2, 2011
In the spring of 2011 the turbine runner was replaced due to damage to the casting. Investigations are being conducted.
We are looking at ways to reduce the wear on the equipment, and a system of electronic governing is being looked into. Other wise, the hydro system is performing well and had generated approximatly 3 million dollars worth of electricity, assuming an average load of 250 kW.
February 24, 2009
This winter has persisted with snow on the ground at Malibu for more than two months. This is the longest time in memory. Most activity has been centered on completing the assignment building. Everything else survived the snow.
The power system has been behaving for the most part. Frazil ice in the creek presented some problems and limited output for a few days. Extremely cold conditions froze the micro hydro at the intake knocking out the data transmitter. Winterizing that equipment will be necessary. Cavitation on the water deflector continues to be a problem, and a replacement is kept ready. It is likely that some changes should be made in the governing system to prevent this damage.
January 15, 2008
It is a very cold and snowy winter at Malibu. The hydro has been operating well for the most part. Deep snow at the lake has buried the sensor and radio system. The small pipes at the intake weir froze and shut down the data system. This will thaw out soon enough.
A potential disaster happened in the power house. A leak in a 12 inch flange on the main valve was noted on the surveilance cameras. We rushed over to find water under 500 psi escaping and causing a minor flood in the power house. See photos. It was necessary to drain the entire pipeline in order to close off the main valve completely.(design oversight - there should be a bypass. Once closed, the flanges were unbolted and after hours of cleaning the old gasket, a new one was installed. The water was again turned on, but by now the manifold had frozen solid and no water flowed from the intake pond. The next day an expedition was mounted and a propane tiger torch was carried up on the snow deep roads. Several hours of thawing later, the water was flowing. But upon reaching the power house, the leak was far worse, and the flood of biblical proportions! Water was pouring from the doors. The deluge was slowed and once again the pipeline was drained. A third gasket was installed, and this time it was a success. No damage was done to any equipment, and the generator, although dry inside, was heated with electric fans for several hours to be sure.
The cause of the failure was likely due to unequal tightning of the large flange bolts. Over time the gasket was pressed out of the flange faces. The second failure was no doubt from the same cause. Lessons well learned.
Several upgrades will be implemented as a result from this incident. A bypass pipe will be installed around the main valve, a penstock drain will be added, additional sensors to detect water leaks, oil leaks, smoke and turbine bearing temperatures.
October 15, 2007
A failure in a 4 to 20 mA isolator shut the plant down for a few days this week. A temporary fix was worked out bypassing the sensor to feed a fake signal to the PLC, and it is back on line. The sensor involved was the water level radar distance detector installed at the intake weir. It had not been working for about a year due to water infiltration most likely through a non-sealed cable bushing thread. The bogus signal produced was still in the range to maintain the PLC permissive.
A number of other shut downs have been caused by debris getting into the spear nozzle. Small needles, cones and sticks are still entering the pipeline. A permanent fix is not an easy thing to do. Clearing the debris involves draining the penstock and removing an access plate. The penstock has to be drained as the main 12 inch valve can not be closed the last few turns due to the massive pressure pushing on it - because the needle will not fully close and allow pressure equalization. A 1 inch water bypass over the main valve is needed.
Other than that, the plant has been working well. We are at 15,575 hours as of Sept 19 2007. The lake remained full all summer.
Aug 15, 2007
Virtually no problems through the summer. A very large snow pack has kept the lake full, and the lake weir is still spilling over 6 inches. The main two foot diameter control valve has not been opened yet.
Penstock intake weir water level sensors were checked and one was slightly adjusted to be true on. Water temperatures correct to 0.5 degree C. There appears to be an unaccounted for large drop across the intake filter. It looks clean, but the header pipe is nearly always lower than it should be. Perhaps the valves are clogging ?
The access road is still in good shape, and a bit of minor trimming was done.
Malibu web cam back on line. Was not able to share power line with other equipment which is now off.
May 5, 2007
No problems with hydro since transformer incident. Load has been averaging 200 to 300 kW, but on the last T&T camp, we had the pool heater on line and ran the system up to over 500 kW. On the morning of May 3rd at 7:45 AM the system started to stall. The frequency alarms sounded the alert, and the Malibu power meters showed 520 kW. This is to date the highest recorded. The event lasted for just over a minute, then the load dropped and the frequency recovered. The 150 kW pool heaters were then manually switched off.
The cause was likely the kitchen flash boiler, the pool heater, all the space heaters as well as the rest of the base load. What took us by surprise was the fact that it happened at an observed 520 kW, not at the 580 kW rating of the turbine. Two explanations came to mind. Was the nozzle jet fully open and unobstructed permitting rated flow on the pelton wheel ? There was not time to view the % open display via the web cam during the event, so we are not sure on this one, but we can load the system up and observe the resulting readings.
Line loss would account for some differences in actual kW (or KVA) readings, and that at Malibu we could expect some lesser amount than 580 kW. We will work out the loss via formula (and some assumptions) and post the results here. If the answer is line loss, then the actual available potential will be the 520 kW observed. In an typical power system, a loss of 3% is considered fully acceptable. If we are generating 580 kW and receiving 520 kW, that is a 10% loss.
The fact that this occurred at a time before all the new construction is completed adds incentive to begin implementing some basic load management. This can virtually eliminate short term overloads by diverting power from lower priority loads such as water heating to higher priority loads. There is a limit, but nearly all micro hydros powering camps or homes make use of load management, enabling a higher base load to be connected than the installed capacity of the plant.
February 22, 2007
All systems running, and despite 3 feet of snow, a crew of 6 carried the new transformer to the power house. The burnt unit will be shipped out and repaired and kept as a backup. We have no idea why they are burning out. The load is very light on the windings.
The temperature probes are still giving very strange readings, huge swings on RTD # 2 but no apparant actual temperature problem. We will inspect the wiring, but since the swings are plus and minus, it is less likely a wiring problem. Suggestions anyone ?
January 23 2007
The replacement station service transformer that provides power to the generator equipment has once again failed for the second time and caused a shutdown. The reason is unknown at this time. Deep snow is hampering access, although a replacement has been ordered.
January 15 2007
Severe winter weather has been causing some problems. Recently, frazil ice build up on the intake screens has caused several shutdowns. The high filter differential readings are a result of this. Readings where the header is just a bit higher than the dam level are the result of the turbine throttling the flow and a minor water surge occurring in the pipeline. It just happens that the reading is taken at this time.
The lake RTU remains off line for an unknown reason. Most likely from a late Autumn visit by the resident bear. Once confirmed, a permanent fix will be implemented.
The generator ticked over the 10,000 hour point this week, and is averaging 200 kW. If this power was generated from diesel fuel, the approximate cost value would be $500,000. This assumes a cost of $ 50 per hour to run the diesel generator, and I think it somewhat higher than that.
December 27 th, 2006
Fall rains came with a vengeance and to date it has been one of the wettest seasons on record. Combined with several wind storms, extensive damage was done in many areas, but Malibu avoided most of the mayhem. The hydro plant has been operating well, with just a few unexpected shutdowns.
About a month ago the automatic reporting system at the lake shut down for an unknown reason. The battery voltage had slowly dropped below a useable level indicating a problem with the solar charging equipment. This had also happened in the summer and it was found that a bear had torn out some wiring. Despite reinforcements, this may have happened again. A clog in the intake works has also stopped the small turbine and data from the dam. This will be corrected shortly. The web cam is being moved to view PLI and will be on line shortly.
November 5th, 2006
An unusually dry summer had resulted in the lake level falling to 1.8 feet. This is still sufficient for all the power needs, but without rain, only about a month at maximum output remained. The summer shut down resulting from the bearing problems enabled us to close the lake valve reducing discharge. Had this not been the case, we could have had water problems by late October. But the fall rains did arrive, and with a vengeance by November. Within a week the lake has risen five feet and should remain high until spring. Camps power needs are about 150 to 250 kW at present.
The new intake filters appear to be working well and unexpected shutdowns are infrequent.
Sept 22, 2006
The hydro plant has been running perfectly. We are today installing the new larger screens at the penstock intake. This requires us to close off the lake dam to reduce the river flow so the intake pool can be drained. This should take just a couple of days to do the work. The result is that the intake will not clog up as frequently.
Live data will be restored by Sept 25th.
Aug 1, 2006
Malibu Hydro Lives.....
Following a 3 month run on the diesel generators, the hydro generator is finally back on line. There were a few glitches along the way, but those have been resolved and camp is once again much quieter and peaceful.
June 28, 2006
Repairs are taking longer than anticipated. A new shaft and rewound core is being installed. Delivery is expected in early July. No arcing in the windings was noted, so it is unlikely that stray currents were flowing from the rotor. If this is the case, the bearings are less likely to have been damaged. Operation is expected by mid July. In the mean time, both diesels are in use during the day and the cost of fuel is in excess of $ 1000 per day.
The lake RTU is back in operation following an un-welcomed bear attack. It would appear the bruin has a taste for the cables running up the tower, and major bite holes have damaged the antenna cable as well as the teck cable from the solar panel which charges the battery. Field repairs were made July 23rd, and solid steel conduit will be placed over the cables in July.
The lake weir survived the winter nicely, and the lake level is higher than in previous years at this time. The control valve was opened fully to flush debris, then closed fully. There is plenty of water flowing over the weir, although the readings on the data page are somewhat distorted as there are several long logs resting over the weir and damming the lake water.
The canoe was tested and although a bit flattened, is a joy to paddle, and the scenery around the lake is truly gorgeous. Above all, it is a rock climbers paradise with countless long routes on fabulous rock.
May 27, 2006
Generator has been shipped to Texas for repair. The problem was a manufacturing defect and had nothing to do with greasing or runaway. The bell housings that hold the bearings were machined to the wrong size allowing them to rotate in the housing. There may have been electrical leakage through the bearings as well. The estimated time for re installation is June 20 or so.
In the mean time, Malibu is running on diesel power, and at times, both units are required to handle the load.
May 11, 2006
The generator has been dismantled and it was found that the shaft is completely destroyed. It is deeply pitted and looks almost melted. See photos page. It is possible the bearing was turning in the cast housing, and the problem is likely due to a manufacturing defect. Excess, or lack of grease was not the cause. From the look or it, there should have been a lot of heat generated. It is unclear if the temperature sensors reported a problem and shut down the plant down due to excess heat. The generator is now ready to be shipped out for repair or replacement.
A failure of this magnitude is extremely rare, and it will be interesting to hear what the manufacturer has to say.
May 6, 2006
The generator has had an initial inspection. Turning the generator by hand resulted in scratchy rumble sounds. We found the front bearing nearest to the turbine to be destroyed. Samples of grease were obtained and found to contain what felt like bits of metal. Tests were made to see how much grease actually made it to the bearing through the grease delivery tube. It appears like this was working as it should, with about 1.5 inches of grease per pump entering the tube. The unit had been greased in accordance with instructions, and using the supplied grease and gun. The state of the rear bearing is uncertain, but both are scheduled to be changed by May 12 th or so.
The generator is now being disassembled ready for bearing replacement. This is something that should not be required for 10 to 15 ? years. The unit has just over 6000 hours on it now, about 8.3 months.
It is clear something unusual happened, but exactly what is yet to be determined. Generator bearing and / or winding temperature sensors should have detected a rise in temperature and shut the system down before this damage was done.
Note, the lake and intake dam data is unavailable on the 'live system data' page since the new satellite internet service was installed about two weeks ago. The problem is with some equipment at YL head quarters that is not able to pass FTP data onto the internet. They are working to resolve the problem.
April 26, 2006
AT 3:30 PM on the 25 th the hydro plant shut down. On trying to restart the plant, it immediately became obvious something was very wrong. It was not maintaining speed, ran rough and sounded noisy. Upon inspection it was found that a sensor that detects the speed had fallen out of a socket inside the generator. With this missing, there was no way for the computer to determine the speed of the system. What happened next is stil unclear, but it seems likely that an overspeed event may have occured.
More details as they become available.
April 20, 2006
Load on system increasing as new kitchen is going on line. Kitchen floor heat adds over 100 kW to load and as a result more water is being drawn into turbine. The filters continue to be a problem especially after heavy rain. Other than that, the hydro plant is performing well. Heaters in many of the cabins make a big difference to the level of comfort.
A new satellite telephone and data system is being installed by Young Life. This should not impede this web site data updates, but there is no guarantee.
February 16, 2006
Over the past 3 weeks, Brian and Ken have added lots of 1500 watt heaters to Sitka, Lilloette and Suivolot. This will make a big difference to early and late season camper comfort.
The hydro system had been performing well, with only minor cleaning required at the intake.
However, it has been very cold for the past few days and the lake level is just at the top of the spillway. There is plenty of water in the lake, but the main drain valve cant be adjusted without a long and difficult hike. The lake is also icing over and stopping any spill. As the load increases from the electric heaters, more water is being consumed and the valve setting may be too low to keep up.
Ice on the main dam pool is causing false reading on the level as the spill way is being blocked.
A glitch in the water temperature sensors has been identified and will be corrected asap.
December 23, 2005
The heavy rain this week brought more debris in the water and once again the intake filters plugged. The system tripped off on Wednesday night - and now it can't be restarted. It will be Tuesday Dec 27th before someone can go in and alter the softwear to enable it to run. So for now the diesel is back in use and being turned off at night. This will alter the time the web cam takes the picture of the new kitchen complex in case you are checking on the hour.
December 9, 2005
Colder temperatures and snow have reduced the river flow. The lake dam still overflows about 2 inches, but most water is discharging from the 24 inch pipe in the structure. The valve is about 1/3 open. The lower intake dam overflows 5 CM while the upper dam overflows 1/10 foot ( note change in units ) The lower dam has one of its two 6 inch drain valves fully open which would account for one or two cm of excess flow. Time will tell if there is enough flow to produce the kW's required. A remote controlled valve at the lake would be nice.
November 8, 2005
The hydro system has been running more or less steadily for over two months now. The saving in fuel costs is becoming an impressive sum. The silence at camp still takes some getting use to. A nice thing to have to get accustomed to.
The only shut down has resulted from the intake filters clogging up. This was actually quite a serious event. Heavy rain caused much debris in the river which soon plugged the small holes in the filters. The result was the penstock drained quite quickly. We had been monitoring the levels from camp, but in the space of an hour, the blockage increased and the pipe quickly drained. The first sign was the hum of the transformers slowed and the lights slightly dimmed. As soon as possible, the water tank loads were shut off manually allowing the system to recover. Plans were made to visit the intake and clean the filters - not an easy job in high water.
Within the hour, the system once again bogged down. The blockage was now so solid that we could not maintain the 80 kW of load we required. I was in the shop and very rapidly the lights dimmed considerably and the transformers growled. Low frequency is the worst thing to happen to an AC power system as motors and transformers are designed for 60 Hz power, and anything less that 50 Hz causes severe overheating. At the extreme, DC would quickly melt much of the equipment windings. The saving grace however is that the system voltage, hence available power drops in some proportion to the reduced frequency. Still, at the 45 hz the generator was running, plenty of energy was available to do considerable damage.
The PLC (computer) at the generator location did not recognize the loss of system control, nor did the probe at the dam send a signal to shut the system down in a timely manner. The probe should have sent a signal to the PLC the moment the water level dropped below the crest of the dam. This is a major failure of the very sophisticated installed protective equipment, which cost a bundle. The low frequency condition lasted approximately half a minute before it tripped off. Independent backup equipment is being installed to warn of such impending conditions.
October 6, 2005
Sufficient rain fell by late September to bring the creek level up so the lower intake weir had 10 cm of overflow. We put the hydro on line and averaged 175 kW. This has remained relatively constant since then. The gate on the weir at the lake was set to about 1/3 open, which would allow about 15 to 20 cfs to pass, depending on lake water level. At this setting, we were generating 175 kW and spilling on average 5 cm over the lower weir (dam) This represents an additional X number of kilowatts - a figure to be determined and documented.
Because the crest of the lower weir (penstock intake structure) is so broad and long, it is difficult to get accurate flow measurements, and very small changes in level can represent considerable power potential variations. The recently installed sensors measure to 0.5 cm resolution over a total 100 cm range, with 50 cm being the zero point which is the crest of the spillway. Thus, the maximum reading will be 50 cm, and the minimum will be 0 cm. 50 to 80 cm is the expected normal operating range. The differential reading measures the difference across the filters, thus warning of a potential shutdown due to filter obstructions.
You can now monitor the conditions at the lake and intake weir by viewing the system data section of this web site. Gaps in the data are the result of the computer running the ftp program loosing the satellite connection.
Sept 28, 2005
Lake level at bottom of two foot diameter pipe, just starting to flow through pipe. The following day, over a 24 hour perios, 41 mm of rain fell which brought lake level up two feet.
Sept 3, 2005
The lake control weir was completed on schedule during perfect weather conditions. Once the concrete was in place, the down stream creek flow was reduced. The lake level has been rising from recent rain however, and should soon provide adequate flow to run the hydro system. Some touch up concrete work and removal of forms was also done on the lower river intake weir whilst the creek was low. Pictures have been added to the photos page.
You can now monitor the conditions at the lake, water level and temperatures, by viewing the system data section of this web site. The data from the river intake weir will be available by the end of this month. There may be gaps in the data updates should the computer at Malibu go off line or be powered down and not restarted.
Aug 21 2005
Construction of the lake weir is scheduled to begin on Aug 23 and take 4 days. We will be camping at the lake and having the equipment flown in by plane.
The hydro has been off line due to low water since the last report. Although it is still operational, the output is insufficient to run the camp. Once the weir is in place, the valve will be adjusted to pass sufficient water to run the hydro. Excess water will begin to build behind the weir once the rains begin. The level will be monitored at camp and also available on the system data page of this site once everything is in place.
Aug 7 2005
Malibu hydro ran smoothly for 2 weeks until an unexpected shut down on Aug 4th. The cause was low water in the dam, the result of many hot dry days. This was not unexpected, it just came a little early, due in part to the lower than normal snow pack and lack of recent rain.
The hydro was put back on line but the 90 kW water heater had to be switched off as it required more water than was available. The 45 kW water heater was used, with just a little excess water flowing over the spillway. This continued on for two more days until even that load was too much and the diesel had to be started. Now, the diesel and the hydro are both running, one feeding each half of camp. (Note.... as the water is the 'fuel' for the turbine, regulating the flow determines the power output.)
The plan is to get to work on the lake wier in the next few weeks while the water is low. This may reduce the creek flow to the point the hydro can not be put back on line until the lake re-fills somewhat. As the lake water appears to leak under the near shore of the lake, at the site of the wier, the actual down stream creek flow may be greater than we expect.
July 25 2005
The replacement part arrived and was installed July 19. The hydro plant has been up and running since then with no incident.
The previous failure was likely due to voltage spikes getting back into the electronics when the relays and solenoids that control the hydraulics would turn on and off. Protective measures to prevent this are being implemented.
Plant output is ranging from 280 kW to 400 kW depending on pool heater status. The pool water is so warm now that the heaters are shut down most of the time.
July 5 2005
There have been a number of minor problems thus far.
Most recently, a failure in an electronics board which controls the main deflector ram has resulted in a system shut down from June 30 through July 5. Spare parts are hard to come by over a holiday weekend. This problem may be connected with the next occurrence mentioned below.
On or about June 24th, it was noticed that the frequency was wandering beyond acceptable limits. Late on the night of Saturday 25th, the frequency alarm sounded in Chilkoot, waking Gil. On inspection of the meters, the frequency was too high, and the video feed from the power house showed oil spraying from a hydraulic hose fitting. By the time a crew was half way across the inlet, the system shut down. An 'O' ring had failed, resulting in the loss of pressure, and thus governing control.
Following initial high load testing up to 500 kW, the plant shut down. There was no apparent reason for this. Upon inspection, it was noticed that the intake was low on water. This could only have been caused by clogged filters at the dam. In fact, two days before I noticed the filters were getting covered with fine debris from the recent heavy rain. As there is no easy way to clean them, Erik was asked to don his diving gear and unbolt the filters, which are 8 feet under water at all times. This has solved the problem for now.
June 21 2005
Amid fireworks, 200 onlookers and a light rain, the 'Flip The Switch Celebration' was a wonderful success. Sharon had provided a fabulous dinner to all the special guests, then there were presentations, club and entertainment. Later, we all watched from hamburger point as the diesel was shut down for the last time, darkness fell over the entire camp, then beautiful silence for a few seconds, then as all the lights came back on ... cheering and spectacular fireworks overhead. It really was a special moment in Malibu history.
Thank you so much to all the folk who made this dream finally come true. Your hard work and generous donations will have a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of kids for many decades to come.
June 6 2005
Final commissioning takes place this week. This will consist of tweaking the turbine / generator alignment, greasing of all bearings, checking all piping and hydraulic hoses. Then the PLC, (control computer), will be tested along with the many inputs and outputs it monitors and controls. Load tests will begin on Wednesday the 8th using the large high capacity water heaters now installed at camp. About 300 kW will be produced for initial testing. Then, load rejection tests will be conducted to check the performance of the governor to control the turbine speed. By Friday, testing should be completed and the system officially handed over to Malibu Club.
The cable was successfully rescued, then approximately 300 feet was cut off (which was in the plan). Water was found to be oozing from the end, apparently having been forced up the wire from the high pressure at 900 feet. This is being drained out before final hook up.
A full report, more pictures and sound clips of the operating system will be available on this web site as soon as possible.
May 31 2005
Late on the night of May 30th the lost cable was finally brought back aboard the barge. It appears undamaged, and will be fully tested and re installed May 31 - June 1
This just in .... Gil has sent a series of photos documenting the final install of the cable. It is now tied in to the transformer at Malibu. Phew !
The penstock is scheduled to be tested this week, and preliminary checks done on all the power house wiring. All going well, the turbine will be spun up and power on line to camp by June 10th.
May 28 - 30 2005
The sub and support barges arrived May 27. The cable was easily found on the first dive. It took a lot of searching to fine the end of the cable. Fine silt stirred up from the submarine degraded visibility. A point 200 feet from the end was finally found after several dives and a soft lifting sling was wrapped around the cable. To this, a 5/8 inch lifting line made of kevlar, a nylon like material with an 8 ton breaking strength was connected.
The large capstan winch was used to lift the heavy cable, and all was going well until after 600 feet or so the lifting rope broke ! This is unheard of in the industry, and other than a flaw or nick in the rope, no explanation can be found. Needless to say, the cable fell back to the bottom.
A new lifting line with a 12 ton capacity was lowered to the bottom, but was found to be too heavy a load for the small sub to handle, but after much effort and rope work 900 feet under water, the connection was finally made.
May 23 2005
The retrieval of the cable is scheduled for Saturday May 28th. Submarine and barge to arrive Friday and the dive will likely happen at night to take advantage of minimal tidal currents. Testing of the cable and re-lay will happen Saturday. New photos available here shortly there after.
Nearly all the electrical work at Malibu has been completed thanks to a very dedicated team.
May 14 2005
On May 2 and 3 the team from International Telecom arrived to install the submarine cable. May 2nd was a practice run to work out any potential bugs in the procedure. May 3rd was the install day for the cable. All went as planned until suspected bad fuel caused an engine/generator failure on the barge resulting in the loss of hydraulic pressure to the cable laying equipment, which resulted in a loss of breaking force on the 3000 pound load, causing the remainder of the cable to spool off the reel and drop into the inlet.
This is a significant setback, but the team had rescue plans in the works almost immediately. Plan # one was to re-spool the cabe from the far end where it is connected to the hydro site, then re-lay the entire cable. This approach had the risk of kinking the cable where it is all piled up on itself 1000 feet under water. Plan # two was to send down a sub to attach a line to the dropped cable end, but to mobilize a sub and crew was very costly.
But by coincidence, it was found that a well known team from North Vancouver was to be in lower Jervis Inlet, just 30 miles from Malibu, in later May testing equipment for the James Camron film "Return to Titanic". A few phone calls later, it was decided to retain a sub from this crew to retrieve the cable end by attaching a lifting line. As the sub is equipped with sonar and manipulator arms, it is an easy task to find the cable. This will delay the schedule a bit, but is a preferable plan.
On May 3 the helicopter came to lift the transformer onto the pad outside the power house at camp. The lift went as planned and the entire camp lined the rocks by the gym to witness the event. It was loud, windy and all over in less than 5 minutes.
Tremendous progress has been made on the new wiring in the power house at camp. Switch gear for the new 600 and 208 volt feeds is hooked up. New water heaters with up to 300 kW capacity are installed, one by the pool and one in the existing pump room. There is now more hot water capacity available than the entire hydro could produce at full output, but load controllers will be used to select where the power is used on an hour by hour basis.
A pico sized hydro generator was installed at the dam site and is producing 100 watts of electricity to power water level monitoring equipment. It is also supplying power to a wireless internet repeater.
April 24 2005
The 10,000 foot long submarine cable is delivered to Vancouver and is being loaded on a barge for deployment May 2. See photo of spool on the truck on photos page.
April 17 2005
All the switch gear is now installed in the power house. Wiring is soon to be completed. The 8000 pound transformer at Malibu will be lifted in place by a logging helicopter on May 10th. Much of the camp electrical system is being reworked by Brian Anderson and others. A number of new transformers will take the 600 volts from the main transformer and convert it to the 120 / 208 for use in the kitchen, new totem inn, and pool heater. Yes, there will even be a 300 kW pool heater to make year round swimming a near possibility.
A new water purification system is also being installed which uses UV rather than chlorine.
The official date for 'first light' is expected to be June 18, 2005.
March 9 2005
The turbine and generator are now in the powerhouse being lined up. Welding of the penstock to the intake manifold is also being done today.
February 23 2005
Feb 23 is a big day. The generator and turbine are being delivered by barge. The power house is now built and the equipment will be bolted down over the next few weeks. The main transformer and switch gear will be delivered in early April. A concrete pad has been poured next to the present power house to hold the 9000 pound transformer.
The submarine cable is now due to arrive on May 1, during the Tool and Tackle camp. It is expected to take from 1 to 3 days to install the cable. There will be a 'practice run' the day before, going through the motions without actually laying the cable, to ensure all equipment and procedures are in place.
Extensive re modeling has taken place with the water system. Pumps and pressure tanks are being relocated to in the gym, and a new UV water treatment system is being added as well. Several large electric water tanks are being added to the network, each capable of producing the same heat that was obtained from the diesel generator cooling water.
Several new transformers are also on site. The largest of these will convert the 4160 volts from the submarine cable down to 600 volts. Part of the 600 volt supply will be fed to various areas of camp, then new smaller transformers will reduce the 600 volts to 208 / 120 volts, which is what the diesel generator produces. In addition, new transformers in the present diesel power house will provide 208 / 120 volts for the main core area of camp. The reason for all these transformers is to transport the power in the most efficient manner possible, and to also enable the diesel generator to power the vital camp systems should the hydro be unavailable.
January 14 2005
Snow and ice dominate the scenery in the mountains at Malibu now. Water flow in the creek is down as expected from the continued cold in the catchment area.
Electrical and plumbing work at camp is progressing at an accelerated rate. Various transformers and water tanks are being relocated and installed, and the diesel power house is being rearranged to accommodate all the new equipment.
'First power' is expected in late May, with electrical work continuing on as the budget permits.
December 7, 2004
The new power house is nearing completion. It is built using wood frame construction with a metal roof. There are two interior rooms, one for the turbine and one for the electricals. No pictures as of yet. Engineering work is progressing on the electrical conversion to be done at Malibu. This will be extensive and will be an on-going project for several years.
October 26, 2004
The penstock was officially completed by Oct 20th and is now connected to the main valve at the 1320 foot elevation intake weir. Pressure testing has been done on part of the pipeline, final testing requires fabrication of a special valve assembly to drain the penstock. Penstock pressure is 552 psi based on a net static head of 1,275 feet. (assuming the weir elevation is from sea level)??
October 6, 2004
Tremendous progress has been made in the past week. The dam is essentially finished, and the power house foundations have been poured! New photos are available under the 'Photos' page.
Following several weeks of heavy rain, Sept 26 dawned clear, and for the next 10 days beautiful fall weather prevailed. The lake level dropped to 3.4 feet enabling access to the creek to complete the forms. On Sept 29 and Oct 2 we poured the dam then removed the forms and installed the valves and filters. The creek continued dropping so all the water was passing through the drain pipes. The next rains will cause the dam to fill and overflow the crest.
Meanwhile, the penstock crew is completing the anchors on the steep sections, and will be connecting pipe on the access road shortly. They expect to be complete by months end. Then will come the flushing and testing of the pipe line.
The power house is all formed up, and is being poured today, Wed Oct 6. This consists of the footings, below ground walls, turbine pit and tail race . A second pour will complete the slab once the electrical conduits are in place.
September 19, 2004
This has been the wettest September on record. The lake has risen to 6.2 feet at times, averaging 5 feet. Tremendous rain, and now colder than usual conditions have halted all work on dam. There is still a possibility the dam can be poured this season, but not if the rains keep up. We need a week of dry weather. Next opportunity will be in early spring.
Work is now concentrated on the power house, and the forms are being built this week. The power house will be a wood structure on slab.
August 26, 2004
Form work has been largely completed in the river and they were ready to pour concrete on Aug 20th, but then it started raining after a long hot summer. And it is still raining, pouring buckets for the last week. The lake had dropped from 3.7 feet to 2.8 feet over the last six weeks. It rose back up to 3.9 feet in just 5 days. All work has stopped as the river is too high to work on the weir.
This wet spell should pass soon enough and work will resume as soon as possible. It had better, as there is 75 cubic meters of concrete trying to stay dry on site.
August 10, 2004
Work on the river weir at the 1320 foot level was started in early August. Blasting out loose rock and drilling foundation anchors will be done first, then the forms will be built. The lake level is slowly dropping, and as soon as the outlet is dry, work will move to that location as the window of opportunity is short.
July 22, 2004
Water level sensor installed in lake. Level must drop about 16 inches to enable access to the river to install the lake weir. The intake weir is scheduled for construction in August. Due to hot dry weather, the pipeline welding was put on hold untill it cools down a bit.
June 22, 2004
New photos have been added to 'Photos' page, as well as a new 'Quick Facts' page. The pipe line crew has not returned as of June 20th. Malibu staff hiking up to lake on days off and building trail.
June 2, 2004
We hiked up to McCannel Lake in late May to check out the water level and plan where to install a water level guage. The level was very high as snow is melting fast. Work is scheduled to resume on the penstock by early June, and the lake weir will be built when the water level drops, likely in late summer.
May 2, 2004
Final clean up of the road and removal of cut trees will be completed the first week of May. The penstock crew will then complete installation of the pipe works. No other information is available at this time.
February 20, 2004
No work hydro has been done over the winter to date. Work is scheduled to resume in early spring when the ground dries out a bit. The upper section of the penstock consists of 40 foot long bolt together sections of 12 inch diameter pipe. This will be buried under the access road for stability. The lake will remain snow covered into early summer preventing any work on the intake. The penstock will be finished by summer, and the generating equipment is soon to be ordered. Completion is scheduled for 2005.
December 12, 2003
New pictures are now available on the 'Engineering' page of this web site. See sections on penstock, access and water intake. The new photos are also at the very bottom of the page. As of this date, work has finished for the season. The penstock is all in place up to the road at the 900 foot level. Power house preparation may take place over the winter.
November 15, 2003
Things are really happening fast! In late October all 4700 feet of 12 inch steel penstock was delivered to the site of the hydro plant. The pipe line contractor has already welded and installed half the total penstock. Much of it is buried. Road access now reaches McCannel creek to the site of the intake structure. Work on the penstock will continue until bad weather forces a winter shut down. It is likely that the power house will be started over the winter. New pictures are now available on the 'Engineering' page of this web site.
October 7, 2003
By mid October, the long awaited penstock is scheduled to be delivered to the site. It will take five barge loads to bring in the 4700 feet of 12 inch diameter steel pipe. This marks a very significant development in this project. Thanks to all the donors who have made this dream possible!
September 5, 2003
The access road now reaches McCannel Creek. Minor blasting was necessary in the construction. Construction has been delay due to the closure of the woods due to the forest fire danger at present. The weir at the lake will be built starting mid September. This will reduce the flooding and hold the water level higher and extend the time the lake discharges. It will ensure a more even flow throughout the year.
Mean while, the small 10 kW hydro site which ran at Malibu up until 1998 has been given a new life. It is now installed and operational just north of the outer dock at the site of a privately funded cabin. This project will be detailed as a separate page on this web site in the near future. It will afford visitors a chance to see an operating hydro plant as work on the McCannel Creek project progresses.
July 14, 2003
Road work continues and it is expected that the 1100 foot elevation will be reached shortly. The power house site has been tested for stability by geo-tech engineers and an excavator has done a rough clearing of the lower reaches of the penstock route.
A new landing barge, named 'Tag Angel' has been purchased for use in the construction of the project and is currently hauling gravel and heavy machinery to the site.
The main hydro contractors are the 'JDP Hydro' group from Sechelt BC. More information as it becomes available. The contract for the turbine has been awarded to Canyon Turbines in Washington State.
June 21, 2003
The first equipment was moved to the site on June 19th. Road repair will take place for the next month or so.
A large float house has been donated to Malibu and is to be used to house construction workers. It is moored in the bay behind the boat house, and was renovated in April 2003 by a volunteer crew.
May 12, 2003
We have started! The decision was made on May 9th to proceed with the project. The project contractor has been selected and a team of surveyors has already arrived at Malibu to begin the detailed survey work. It is expected that work will continue on through the summer with a project completion date estimated for June 2004.
More on the schedule as info becomes available.
Over the winter several contractors visited the site to make estimations. This was their show, and little input was provided by Malibu personal. I do not know the results of any of these visits, only that the bids were submitted. I have no part in the selection.
We are now closer to the financial goal and are committed to proceeding.
October 18th 2002
Since the last update the penstock route has been extensively surveyed. Exceptional late summer and fall weather have made the water level low and the conditions perfect for construction. Sufficient funds do not appear to be available however, so the fate of the project is unknown.
August 7th 2002
The final approvals to use the water in McCannel Creek and to start construction on the river intake and lake weir are now in hand! The lake has been studied, and it has been determined there are no resident fish. In any case, our weir would only serve to benefit a fish population. We can therefore commence work on the water works at any time. We are in the process of discussing access and installation issues of the penstock.
This marks a very significant point in this project, and thanks are due to all the agencies involved for their help and understanding.
July 15th 2002
After two weeks of crashing through the bush, the survey crew has discovered many old logging roads which would be of enormous help if we can get approval to use them.
July 3rd 2002
Detailed engineering work is ongoing. Survey crew is on hill side as of this date investigating methods of building penstock intake and getting equipment in place. A combination of high lead logging methods (using overhead cables), and a helicopter crane is one possible method to get the pipe and concrete into position with minimal disturbance to the terrain.
June 17th 2002
This was an exciting week in the project! The Engineers took an all day hike up the hill side to determine an appropriate intake site, and get a feel for the overall lay of the land. At the same time, the survey crew spent several days taking detailed measurements. Discussions are underway to determine the best way to actually haul the steel pipe into place.
Malibu is currently building a cable bridge to cross the creek, and clearing a small helicopter landing site at the 1500 foot intake level as well as at the 2600 foot lake.
May 16th 2002
More work has been done on the access trail for the survey crew. The detailed engineering is under way as of this date. The project is being divided into two phases. Phase one will consist of the intake work, control weir, penstock and power house construction.
Phase two will involve laying the under water cable, turbine installation, transformers, controls, and connection to the system at Malibu.
Fund raising is still a serious concern, and interested parties are encouraged to contact the Malibu project manager. The address is on the first page of this web site.
April 26th 2002
Serious fund raising got off to a late start in early April. Since that time we have received several very generous donations. We now have sufficient funds to begin the detailed engineering, with every confidence that finances will be available to meet our payment schedules.
Detailed surveying is scheduled for May. The penstock installation will comprise the first phase of the project, and is scheduled for mid summer.
Scheduled for April 2002
A decision must be made as to whether we can proceed based on the fund raising situation.
April 5th 2002
Under clear skies we were helicoptered to the intake site to get GPS coordinates and photographs. Deep snow covered much of the area, but there was adequate creek volume under the snow. The area appears to be good for a number of intake possibilities. Terrain to the side of the creek is not steep, and the creek flows over solid rock so has not cut into a narrow gorge. Heavy logging slash will make construction access awkward however.
We also hiked up to the lake to check the outlet and the ice level. See the photographs on the Engineering page under 'river intake' and 'mountain slope'.
The following are the GPS co-ordinates which are virtually identical to the UTM grid co-ordinates on the 1:20,000 TRIM map of the area (92J.011). Datum is NAD 83. GPS used is a Garmin 12XL, and results are only as reliable as this consumer grade instrument.
Horizontal positioning by GPS is extremely good, vertical elevations are less reliable, and I rely more on a good quality altimeter which has always proven accurate.
Intake # 1 location: UTM coordinates E 0436364 by N 5553699
Lake (near creek outlet: UTM coordinates E 0435930 by N 5553384
Elevations measured were thus:
Intake # 1 site: 2500 feet by altimeter, 743m by GPS (2440 feet)
Intake # 3 site: 2430 feet by altimeter, 743m by GPS (error likely due to 3 dimensional signal degradation)
Lake outlet: 2840 feet by altimeter, 850m by GPS (2790 feet) (map shows lake at 833m = 2735 feet)
Calculated distances, from GPS way points.
Lake outlet to penstock intake # 1 site: 540 m (1773 feet)
Intake # 1 site to powerhouse (beach): 1,790 m (5877 feet)
March 22-25 2002
During the US college work week we have established a trail through the lower logging slash which leads directly into the heavy timber of the ridge to the north of McCannel Creek. Water level has remained at or above the 6 cubic foot per second level in the creek even during the coldest part of the season.
Excitement appears to be mounting and potential donors are being sought. To achieve our target we have to be assured that funding will be available, and we are looking at mid April as a decisive date due to the lead time in obtaining the equipment necessary and to mobilize the engineering firm that will be constructing the project.
Coast Guard application has been accepted, and Lands issue is all but settled. Fisheries will be inspecting river by mid March and does not expect there to be any problems. Water level data recorder has been downloaded and reveals there to be far more water in the creek than we will require.
Application process complete. We are now dealing directly with Coast Guard and Crown Lands. Discussions are encouraging and the process is expected to proceed smoothly. We are still looking at construction in the spring and summer.
We are proceeding believing that the financing will be in place, although no arrangements have been made as of this date. It is unlikely that this much effort will be put towards a hydro project again, and the unique skills of the present project manager are vital for this project to proceed on course.
December 2001 to January 2002
Still waiting for our application to be approved. Delays in process beyond our control.
Report prepared on project details and outlining Malibu's power requirements for the future. Report available upon request. Contact Malibu Club directly. Malibu Club in Canada, 604 883-2582
October 20, 2001
Sonar profiles taken of Jervis Inlet. Results are encouraging. The McCannel side shows a smooth slope of up to 55 degrees. The bottom is flat with no ridges or valleys. The Malibu side is not as steep. The water depth is in the range of 1000 feet.
We have been unable to fly up to the lake or hike to the proposed intake at the 2250 foot level. Weather and other factors have prevented this from getting done.
The weir levels have been high, and there is far more water at this time of year than we will ever need. The current plan is to build the plant to provide up to 700 kW.
October 9 - 12, 2001
Site visit with Engineers.
Install water level sensor / radio transmitter equipment and long term data logger above weir.
Fly into McCannel Lake to check out flow and alternate penstock intake area.
Obtain GPS readings of submarine cable position and length.
Here are the GPS readings based on NAD 27 setting on a Garmin 12XL. Numbers in brackets are a second and third reading the next day. These readings are based on a consumer grade GPS unit and are not to be taken as exact. UTM readings are in meters and relate to map 92J/4, Princess Louisa Inlet.
Beach location: UTM coordinates E 0437294 (299) (293) by N 5555074 (076) (070)
North = 50 08' 47".6 (47".3) (47".6)
West =123 52' 39".2 (39".1) (39".4)
Light: UTM coordinates E 0439092 by N 5556792
North = 50 09' 43".0 (43".7) (43".8)
West =123 51' 09".4 (09".9 (09".2)
Diesel power house apron: UTM coordinates E 0439218 (227) (229) by N 5557086 (076) (076)
North = 50 09' 53".2 (53.4)
West =123 51' 03".6
Distance across inlet from beach at McCannel Ck: to light 2.49 km, to diesel power house apron 2.78km. This does not take into account the slope of the inlet profile.
August 18, 2001
Build weir on McCannel Creek for purpose of water measurement. Hike up to 1550 foot level investigating mountain slope stability and looking for possible intake for penstock and route down.
Order air photos of McCannel Creek drainage area.
Prepare water license applications for McCannel Creek project.
Search for land title status on land at mouth of creek. Find it has reverted to crown land.
Turn our attention to developing McCannel Creek rather than Helena Creek as power demand forecast at Malibu is now greater than what Helena Creek could produce in the late season.
The logging company that owns the land between Malibu and Helena Creek is wanting to sell all the land, rather than what Malibu needs for the project works and the price is too high.
1990 to 2000.
Interest in micro hydro has been increasing over the years, and several surveys had been done in the mid 90's.
We built the 12 kW demonstration plant for winter use in 1993, and gained much experience in the operation of an hydro system.