Engineers have successfully repaired leaks in the new hydroelectric turbine at Terror Lake, setting the stage for rate decreases in 2014.

According to an email from Kodiak Electric Association CEO Darron Scott to the KEA board of directors, the leak was fixed late last week. “The patch material was allowed to cure over the weekend. The unit was filled and pressurized with water Monday. There was no evidence of leaks this morning, so the leak issue is behind us,” Scott wrote.

The leak was located in an inspection port used to test the new hydroelectric turbine at Terror Lake. The turbine was installed this summer, and builders appeared to use Teflon tape instead of Loctite to seal the inspection ports, Scott said last week.

With the inspection ports now encased in concrete, KEA employees crawled through the new turbine’s piping to seal them from the inside.

With the leak stopped, KEA will continue testing its new $4.6 million, Austria-built turbine, the third at Terror Lake. Following two to three weeks of commissioning tests, KEA will begin commercial electricity production from the third turbine by mid-December.

“This is very good news. I want to commend (power generation manager) Lloyd (Shanley) and the power generation personnel on this issue. They did a great job,” Scott wrote.

The new turbine promises to be a boon to KEA customers. Electricity from Terror Lake costs 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 12 cents per kWh for wind energy and 28.9 cents per kWh for diesel power.

The addition of a third electric turbine will allow KEA to generate more hydroelectricity as long as water levels in Terror Lake remain high. As of Tuesday, the lake was above capacity and spilling excess water into Terror River.

The successful turbine fix means the final hurdle has been removed for an expected KEA rate decrease. Last week, KEA’s board of directors approved a 2014 budget that cuts the wind electricity price by 1 cent and the fuel component of the bill by another cent.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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