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Kirkwood fire. All power out

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Kirkwood Mountain Utilities caught fire at about 2:30 today destroying the powerhouse and all engines, including a new Cummins generator that had never run.  The cause of the fire was the particulate "traps".  This is a catalytic unit designed to remove diesel particulate before exhaust gasses are treated in a NOx selective catalytic reduction unit.  Kirkwood has upgraded most of its engine capacity to Tier II emission controls with  add-on particulate and NOx controls. The particulate units can pose a significant hazard if the reaction gets out of control

The facility has mobilized portable generators to provide power to the lifts, resort and accommodations.  Power should be back on tomorrow.  At this hour, the resort is dark, and even the cell towers are out.   I will keep this updated as developments occur. Right now, the resort is clearing snow to make room for the portable units and repairing connections to the grid to enable power distribution.  This is a devastating loss, and is particularly bad for all concerned on this holiday weekend.
post #2 of 16
 Wow, that's not good, especially during the holidays.
post #3 of 16
Dang!  That really stinks.  What are the other places nearby that folks can to ski in the meantime?
post #4 of 16
That is a real shame. I assume their insurance will cover the cost of the equipment loss. I'm curious, does resort insurance typically cost lost revenue resulting from an event such as a fire?
post #5 of 16
closest alternatives are Heavenly to the North and Bear Valley to the South
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Dang!  That really stinks.  What are the other places nearby that folks can to ski in the meantime?
 

Within 90 minutes, lets see. (apologize to any of the say 20 resorts I may forget)
mt rose
heavenly
alpine
homewood
sierra ski ranch (sierra summit??)
squaw
northstar (dont go to northstar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AACK!!
some tiny resort in truckee or near truckee forget the name of
bear mtn
granlbkn (horrible misspelling of the name)
boreal
soda springs.
incline village (is this the name?)
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Portable units are on-site with more on the way.  Operations are suspended as of Saturday AM with no prediction of when it will start up.  Its not just a matter of starting the engine generators.  They all have to be paralleled to operate properly and meet demand swings.
post #8 of 16
What's wrong with grid supplied power? 
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Power is back on thanks to Cat in A Box (or a few of them).  The resort has scheduled normal operations for Sunday.  A permanent power plan, or at least an interim plan pending connection to the grid still has to be finalized.  Rental power generators aren't cheap.

Kirkwood is 22 miles east from the nearest power terminal near Peddler Hill on Hwy 88.  The effort to bring off-site generated power has been on-going for years.  The lines have to be installed underground along a scenic highway corridor, and the provision of 5 megawatts of power in a long underground system is not inexpensive.  At this point the environmental studies are nearly complete, and it appears power will be available, but at nearly $.65-$.70/kWh guaranteed rate to PG&E.  Even with grid power, an emergency standby system will be needed.  Environmentalist do not want the power corridor constructed out of concern it would enable development on some private land parcels that are mixed amongst the national forest lands along 88.  Still, CalTrans wants the power to operate the maintenance stations, and there are several other seasonal resort areas that would benefit as well.  To the risk-taker will go the spoils.
post #10 of 16
 Good news for the quick recovery.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

Power is back on thanks to Cat in A Box (or a few of them).  The resort has scheduled normal operations for Sunday.  A permanent power plan, or at least an interim plan pending connection to the grid still has to be finalized.  Rental power generators aren't cheap.

Kirkwood is 22 miles east from the nearest power terminal near Peddler Hill on Hwy 88.  The effort to bring off-site generated power has been on-going for years.  The lines have to be installed underground along a scenic highway corridor, and the provision of 5 megawatts of power in a long underground system is not inexpensive.  At this point the environmental studies are nearly complete, and it appears power will be available, but at nearly $.65-$.70/kWh guaranteed rate to PG&E.  Even with grid power, an emergency standby system will be needed.  Environmentalist do not want the power corridor constructed out of concern it would enable development on some private land parcels that are mixed amongst the national forest lands along 88.  Still, CalTrans wants the power to operate the maintenance stations, and there are several other seasonal resort areas that would benefit as well.  To the risk-taker will go the spoils.
 


Bringing in dependable power is part of the real costs of the real estate development project that was the true driving force behind Kirkwood. They sought to short-cut that even thought undependable power undermines the skiing experience they brag on.

They do have outages on an occaisional basis, correct? Kirkwood is highest on our local list of ski areas that attempt to b.s. the skier, TV ads etc. retraction in advance if this is in fact not the case.
post #12 of 16
I haven't skied kwood for 15-20 years, but the funny thing (got this from another forum) but not only do they have to close lifts due to low power, have 1 of 4 chairlifts not load, but apparently midweek during the day they are cutting the power to local residences to run the lifts!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post





Bringing in dependable power is part of the real costs of the real estate development project that was the true driving force behind Kirkwood. They sought to short-cut that even thought undependable power undermines the skiing experience they brag on.

They do have outages on an occaisional basis, correct? Kirkwood is highest on our local list of ski areas that attempt to b.s. the skier, TV ads etc. retraction in advance if this is in fact not the case.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Dave, I can only reply to what I know, and that is with regard to the power situation.  Snow reports and the KMR website public relations are way out of my pay grade.   I know that planning for the route and financing agreements to bring outside power to Kirkwood are in an advanced stage and involve many stakeholders along the 88 corridor, environmental concerns, Cal Trans, forest service and an alphabet soup of California agencies.  I'm sure the California real estate situation has taken a lot of money off the table, that the resort had hoped to use to bring power from Peddler Hill, but as far as I know, that remains the goal.  Even with outside power, emergency standby power will be important for this remote location.  As if Kirkwood Utilities is the only place that experiences outages, I recall much of El Dorado County was without power for up to a week following a December storm.

Kirkwood Mountain Utilities has worked diligently to upgrade generators at the powerhouse.  It was one of the newest units that was required to have a particulate filter that actually caused this incident.  California has required all replacement stationary engines to be certified Tier II emissions compliant, and in addition required that (beginning in 2005) they have diesel particulate filters (DPFs) that reduce particulate by at least 90%.   DPFs are a relatively new technology, and can reduce particulate soot and hydrocarbons by 90%.  Unfortunately, they are an evolving technology, and can have significant safety concerns.  You may be aware that Ford recalled all 2007 super duty diesels because of fires.  My personal view is that we need to carefully review this incident and study whether the altitude and cold contributed to the fire, and how this can be safely implemented at a place like Kirkwood.

The facts are that in 2005, two D399 engines were replaced with one D3516 resulting in a slight increase in net power capacity from 4.8mW to 5.35mW. The DPF on that 3516 burned in early 2006 and in summer 2006, that 3516 and DPF were replaced by Caterpillar.  Also a new Caterpillar C32 (800kW) generator set with DPF was installed, replacing another D399 and a portable trailer mounted D3516 which had operated intermittently to provide emergency power.  This summer we permitted a new Cummins QSK50 800 kW unit which was in the process of being installed when this fire apparently propagated from a DPF, and destroyed all six engines.  Last month another D399 twisted a crank and failed.  So at the time of the fire there was a 2006 D3516, 2007 C32, 2009 Cummins (not installed), and two surviving D399s that were destroyed.    Power is now being provided by three Cat-in a-Box generators, basically trailer mounted D3516s.

Most people are not aware of many of the facts, and would be bored to tears to read what has been going on.  Others may attribute ulterior motives to what has been a large outlay of cash to upgrade the power facilities.  The fact is, the upgrades have been happening, alongside of efforts to bring in grid power.   People are understandably upset, and pointing fingers for this incredibly badly timed disruption.   I know people at the resort that have been going over 60 hours without sleep to get back online and save part of the ski weekend, and normalize operations going forward.   The power plant burned on January 1.  Who the hell answers the phone on January 1?  Did I say phones? There were no phones.  The resort was completely cut off.   I think its just incredible what has been accomplished as of this morning (January 3). 

At 2:00 today, I heard the cheers as chair #6 turned.   Some internet talk has accused the resort of misleading or deceptiveness.  I don't see it.  In a very fast developing situation beginning at 2:00 Friday, through 2:00 today, during a holiday weekend, these guys have reconstructed from the ground, a power plant, control system and gotten the resort operational.  That is an amazing accomplishment.
Edited by Cirquerider - 1/3/10 at 5:17pm
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveys View Post




Within 90 minutes, lets see. (apologize to any of the say 20 resorts I may forget)
mt rose
heavenly
alpine
homewood
sierra ski ranch (sierra summit??)
squaw
northstar (dont go to northstar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AACK!!
some tiny resort in truckee or near truckee forget the name of
bear mtn
granlbkn (horrible misspelling of the name)
boreal
soda springs.
incline village (is this the name?)
You forgot the incomparable, and venerable, and way cool SUGAR BOWL!!
post #15 of 16
Cirque, you are totally right. damned impressive.  Kudos to the guys that pulled it off, and yourself.
post #16 of 16
Yes I did!  And Sugar Bowl was one of my favorites too!  I despise Northstar!!  I also forgot Donner, oh and did I mention soda springs?  The wood was one of my favorite place 15 or so years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfp158 View Post



You forgot the incomparable, and venerable, and way cool SUGAR BOWL!!

 
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