Reskill personnel with interactive, hands-on hydro governor workshops

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Reskill personnel with interactive, hands-on hydro governor workshops


July 12, 2021


Jessica McGinley, Senior Communications Specialist, American Governor Hydropower Solutions, Emerson Automation Solutions


Reskill personnel with interactive, hands-on hydro governor workshops

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Article updated on October 11, 2021

For legacy governor equipment, periodic training is critical. These intricate and precise machines can provide critical North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)-level primary frequency response. However, this response is only possible if the equipment is properly maintained, tuned and periodically calibrated. The lack of vital hands-on training during the global pandemic has been a major loss for the hydropower industry worldwide.

Since March 2020, hands-on workshops moved from inside plants or an OEM’s classroom to behind computer screens without actual equipment to work on. Some utilities also postponed routine maintenance to minimize the risk of virus transmission among their employees. Thankfully, in part to a robust vaccination program, we can all begin to return to our before “normal” and resume taking care of both our personnel and plant assets.

Many hydro utilities are seeing decades of governor knowledge dissipate and even disappear due to retirements or budget cutbacks. “Doing more with less” has become even more ubiquitous as the last year has seen dramatic changes in the workforce. Despite the movement toward digital transformation, there are still thousands of mechanical governors currently in service in hydro plants all over North America. Sooner or later, these legacy mechanical governors will need to be serviced, and newer plant technicians likely lack the knowledge and skills necessary to confidently overhaul and maintain this equipment. That’s why proactive, hands-on governor training plays a critical role.  Reskilling and upskilling your workforce following the pandemic is crucial to recovery and for long-term success.

Governor School returns in June 2022! Emerson will host its first Governor School workshop in three years, at its Hydro Governor Training & Repair Center in Amherst, Wisconsin. Whether you are an apprentice technician or a decades-in-the-making expert governor mechanic, this intensive workshop will enhance your knowledge of legacy governors, digital controls, and all relevant ancillary equipment. Our intensive and interactive workshops feature both classroom theory and intensive hands-on learning, making them ideal for the plant technicians who are responsible for tuning, adjusting and troubleshooting your governor fleet.

Emerson’s trainers have decades of experience building, calibrating and repairing legacy Woodward governors, oil systems and auxiliaries. Our newly renovated governor training and repair center features Woodward Gateshaft and A-Actuator governors, Woodward 20 Series and XX Herringbone gear pumps, Woodward and Pelton Permanent Magnet Generators (PMGs), as well as working examples of Woodward and Pelton Mechanical Cabinet Actuators.

Governor School classroom instruction utilizes cutaway examples of a Woodward distributing valve, permanent magnet generator and XX Herringbone gear pump, while hands-on instruction will center around a working, pressurized Woodward Mechanical Cabinet Actuator, Woodward Gateshaft Governor, and our PLC-based digital governors. In addition to demonstrating how they work, real-world problems will be programmed into the governors and attendees will be challenged as a group to resolve them. Our dashpot lab has over a dozen Woodward dashpot assemblies for attendees to disassemble, clean inspect, reassemble and test with the guidance of our governor experts. Intensive troubleshooting sessions combined with smaller class sizes are what make our workshops so effective for your maintenance crew.

Our renowned technical workshop format makes this your best choice for refreshing your knowledge or learning mechanical governors from scratch. The workshop includes breakfast, lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Emerson is committed to safety for all attendees and employees. The workshop will follow all safety measures based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) as well as local government requirements and guidance. Ensure the long-term success of your returning personnel and your hydro facilities with our hands-on hydro governor workshops.

To learn more, email or register online at