Prickett Hydroelectric Station Due Diligence

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Client: Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners LC
Location: Michigan

The Prickett Hydroelectric Station was built in 1931 near Pelkie, Michigan, on the Sturgeon River. The facility, as part of the local utility, was under consideration for purchase by a U.K.-based infrastructure investment fund, and POWER Engineers was assigned to perform an Independent Engineering review of the facility by the buyer. For the review, a team from POWER conducted a conditions assessment, an environmental compliance and FERC licensing review, and OpEx and CapEx assessments of the facility.

The facility is located about 31 miles above the river’s mouth on Lake Superior and includes a main diversion dam of earth embankments and a hollow concrete dam with a gate controlled spillway section, a 500-foot-long intake canal and gate controlled intake structure of concrete and earth embankments, two penstocks, and a powerhouse.

The reservoir is about 3.5 miles long and covers an area of 810 acres at normal pool. The intake dam is approximately 30 feet high and 35.5 feet wide with a diversion dam that is 130 feet long and 55 feet high. The powerhouse contains two Francis-type generating units capable of producing 2.0 MW of power and operating at a head range of approximately 54 feet. The penstock from the intake structure consists of two 8-foot diameter spiral wound metal pipes terminated within the powerhouse about 80 feet downstream. It was replaced in 2012.