Helicopter assists DSW linemen with insulator change.
Desert Southwest linemen show us an example of an insulator change using an N619DE helicopter. This is a relatively new work process that began early this year. It allows repairs like this to be completed very quickly resulting in shorter outage times and much less cost compared to conventional methods such as bringing in a bucket truck. All required tools and hardware are also flown into the structure tower.
DSW linemen installing new insulator
The first step is the helicopter removes the old insulator from its cradle. The pilot then flies in the new insulator and sets the end of it onto the cradle of the old insulator. The linemen guide the new insulator horizontally into the cradle as the pilot lowers it down. The linemen then attach the insulator to hardware and conductor.
Twenty-three fellows participating in the Hydro Research Foundation Program take an inside look at power system operations at Western’s Sierra Nevada office in Folsom, Calif.
Understanding how water held behind large dams is converted to usable electricity for homes and business can be explained in many ways, but seeing the process in action can make all the difference.
Twenty-three students under the Hydro Research Foundation’s Fellowship program did just that July 18. As part of their week-long Hydro Vision International conference focused on “Clean Energy,” these fellows took a tour of Western Area Power Administration’s Sierra Nevada power dispatch center in California, as well as Bureau of Reclamation’s Folsom Dam and Reservoir. Employees from both agencies briefed participants on water, hydropower and power system and transmission operations.
Hydro Research Foundation Program Director Deborah Linke, a former Western employee, led the tour. Linke said, “The fellows are really neat—they’re bright, full of energy and have lots of good ideas.”
Hydro Research Foundation’s Fellows program, funded by a $3 million Department of Energy grant, encourages participants to seek advanced knowledge about hydroelectric technology, including ways to make it more efficient and limit the environmental impacts.
Learn more about hydropower
While not everyone has the time and energy to tour facilities to understand how hydropower works, reading about how it’s created and gets to your home can be very helpful. Western’s Harnessing Hydropower brochure (pdf) offers an overview of how generating agencies—like the Bureau of Reclamation—capture the energy of this natural resource that Western then markets to your local towns, cooperatives, public utilities and others that continue to power your computers, appliances and lights in your home or business.
Western employees on the job
A Western Electronic Equipment Foreman in the Rocky Mountain Region makes a fiber connection to a new 25 megavolt-ampere transformer that was installed in April 2010.
Western employees work 24/7 to keep electric power flowing across the West. Without dedicated employees like this we’d be left in the dark.