Hydro

Solar, wind, hydro and other non-fossil sources of electricity.
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craneplaneguy
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Hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Oct 19, 2016 12:57 pm

Here is a pic of a newer hydro project in one of the mountainous areas I fly around a lot, about 100 miles as the crow/plane flies, it's been in operation for around 5 years I think. You can see the power shed, and the traces of the buried penstock that leads up the mountain. I got a glimpse of a switchbacked road that goes up the canyon quite a ways, how far I plan to find out by landing near the mouth of the canyon and then getting the eMontague out and riding up as far as I can, I'll report back when it happens!
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craneplaneguy
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Re: Hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Oct 24, 2016 9:16 am

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Thanks to some great weather over the weekend, I was able to make it back up to this hydro site. Any day now, this high country will be locked in snow, so I jumped at the chance. To my surprise, the main feed for the plant seems to be an open canal off to one side, NOT the canyon directly above the power building as it would appear. At least, in exploring up the canyon, I could see no intake or signs of recent excavation etc. They must have had a reason to offset the intake like, maybe land ownership issues. That canal had 2 or 3 different pipes feeding into it, but none looking like they delivered a lot of water. And when I flew over the bottom discharge pond, the low flow was evident. I'd call this a pretty small system, and I have to wonder if they are making any money with it. Then again, if it was designed around the flow I saw, maybe so.

I landed in the short brush along side one of the many dirt trails leading up to the canyon, this one was inactive as a road, and why I didn't bother to not block it! Getting the bike out and ready to ride, took only the usual 5 or 10 minutes, by the time I loaded my backpack with everything I might need. On these type of rides, I never know how long or far I may be going. I had expected the trail leading up the canyon, to reveal the intake, but when it didn't, I continued on as it was a great ride anyway and I wanted to see how far I could get up the canyon, which leads up to a 11,000' mountain, part of the highest range in Idaho. Shortly after taking this picture (and in the biking Zen of having plenty of battery, personal energy, time, and good weather) and fully prepared to ride to wherever the trail ended, I rounded a switchback and BAM, it ended! It looked like a little exploratory digging was done, mine related, long ago. Thus the reason for the trail, still a great ride of a couple thousand vertical, with great views. I failed to show the discharge pipe into the pond outside the power shack, but it couldn't have been more then a few hundred gallons per minute, less then 500 anyway. This system may be designed to make its money during the spring and summer runoff months, this time of year all water around these mountains slows down, as it's mostly snow melt from the previous winter.

I'll make a separate post about a much larger hydro system just across the valley later.

craneplaneguy
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Re: Hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Oct 25, 2016 10:45 pm

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The intake is in this catchment, this is the "backside" of the Lemhi Range, Near Borah, Idaho's highest peak.
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The totally dry original stream bed, the penstock is buried under the road.
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Check out the thickness of this end cap, and the size and number of bolts! 48" dia., imagine a column of water 1200' high, in effect what happens here, LOTS of force, about 500 lbs of pressure!
Now THIS is a hydro electric system! 1200' of head, a 4' diameter penstock that runs for about 5 miles, up the alluvial flow, through a small canyon, to a catchment basin that takes 100% of the stream flow. This leaves 5 miles of stream bed totally dry, I have no idea what that means to wildlife, or how they got permits to do this, it is what it is. On the other hand, 100% of the captured water is re-deposited immediately downstream of the turbine building. This 40' by 40' windowless steel building, makes a roar that is....impressive. As is the tremor felt in the ground from yards away. I need to find out the capacity of this plant, I actually knew one of the builders, one of the originators of the concept, a local rancher. 35 years ago that is, I remember him talking it up, it was just in the planning stage, he died before it's completion, but they still have a plaque at the entrance gate with his name on it. I know another rancher in the area, having installed a large off grid PV system for him, I need to find out who could give me a guided tour sometime, I'd really like to see the turbine at work.

I have a short video of the building's discharge, but no still shots, darn it. And i don't know how to get the video off my phone to link to here, so screw it, use your imagination.

Hillhater
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Re: Hydro

Post by Hillhater » Oct 31, 2016 4:44 pm

Interesting.
Its hard to see or get a feel for the scale of this system ( other than that huge pipe end cap !). i dont see a significant water source to feed the huge flow needed to operate and generate a large amount of power. Obviously in the spring there would be plenty of melt and run off, but i guess these shots are taken in the dry season ?
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

craneplaneguy
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Re: Hydro

Post by craneplaneguy » Nov 01, 2016 10:25 am

Yeah, the pilot/photographer didn't do a real good job! That big system is fed by run off of the biggest range in a very mountainous state, snow melt pretty much. What I find interesting about this large system is how they TOTALLY dry up several miles of the stream bed, they take every last drop. I have to assume this is all permitted correctly, and the usual gov agencies were involved. I guess Fish and Game and the Wildlife agency figured the local marauding elk, deer, antelope, coyotes, etc., could find their water elsewhere? I know when I was dealing with the state over my water use while setting up my little system, it was made clear to me that I had to leave water in the creek between my intake and my output. That made sense to me at the time, and still does.

I have a rain day off work, I'll see if I can put together a little report on my minuscule hydro system, it works the same way as the other two, just a tad smaller. :shock:

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