FYI here is a local hydro electric plant, it is totally underground, built in 1898 and is still 100% operational. Its the least expensive plant that Puget Sound Energy operates, cost is about 1 penny for KW hour.
- Tom Baker
Top of falls. Hydroplant is 270 feet below:
Built in 1898:
Total of 5 horizontal generators Walls are hewn basalt rock:
This DC generator creates the field:
Wheels on top are set to brass contacts which change field voltage. Panels are made from marble:
Fan controller - Note rock walls Speed set via handle:
It was built in 1898 It is totally underground, 270 feet below Snoqualmine falls Capacity is about 11,900 kW All the turbines were lowered into the chamber via an elevator The rotor creates the power, the field is on the stator, modern generators are the opposite. This generator power is via brushes at 1,000 volts. The plant will be modernized in a few years and the old equipment removed.
Its hard to see in the pictures but the generator room is painted basalt rock, not concrete lined.
I still find myself somewhat in awe at the design and work that went into building places like this a century ago.
There's so much push these days for "renewable" energy sources, and here our forefathers built a wonderful plant like this which has been providing electricity from natural energy for over a hundred years.
I second that, everyting that is designed in our time now, seems to only last only a few years yet this was built 100 years ago and is running perfect. If only we could take the time in building such a design now it would end alot of problems there are present.
Most people don't want to invest the time in doing that kind of work anymore. Unfortunately the get it done and go on mind has taken over.
Some of the work done in the 20s and 30s was funded by the WPA or similar organizations, as my uncle used to say "I got two dollars a day because I was the foreman, but everybody else was just as happy to one dollar a day."
Sadly we live in the era of the "fast buck". No one thinks more than a year down the road. Used to be that Europe was better about this than the Americans, but it seems that lately even the Euros are sliding into the US mentality more and more. Oh well, guess thats what museums are good for.....
Re: 1898 Hydro Plant#152466 07/22/0510:06 AM07/22/0510:06 AM
The biggest fiasco of modern times has to be the Milennium Dome, built in London England to commermorate er.... well whatever. This was little more than a giant plastic tent, the roof fabric of which only had a design life of 25 years. In practice it started to disintegrate after 1 year. The cost to the British taxpayer/charities* was over US$2,000,000,000! Our population is 60 million - you do the math! Alan *A lot of the cash came from 'Lottery' money earmarked for so-called 'good causes'.
ps. The whole sorry mess is now effectively scrap.
[This message has been edited by Alan Belson (edited 07-22-2005).]
I just came across this thread, and found it really fascinating. I'd never heard of that particular plant.
In my limited experience, hydroelectric plants are good places to see old equipment, because most hydro sites were developed long ago.
An especially interesting aspect of these plants are the turbine governors, which are sometimes the original electro-mechanical-hydraulic units. These intricate servomechanisms provided precise speed regulation, controlling powerful hydraulic cylinders to operate the wicket gates.
Re: 1898 Hydro Plant#152468 09/24/0607:45 AM09/24/0607:45 AM
I have an interesting idea. Back before calculators engineers often were less certain of figures than today, so it was not unsual to add 10% (or so) to most figures. To me (today) it seems that 10% is what causes a lot of old buildings to stay standing while a lot of the "enough to get by" buildings of today fail early. Just a thought.