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Shoshone plant ready to power up

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Off-line for close to a year, the Shoshone hydroelectric plant in Glenwood Canyon should be producing power again by the end of April, according to Xcel Energy area manager Fred Eggleston.

“Over the next couple of weeks we will know a little more,” Eggleston said. “We don’t want to rush it. We want to know that it will work correctly before we go online with it.”

The Shoshone station on the Colorado River has been in operation for close to 99 years, but it was put out of commission after one of the large penstock pipes that delivers water to the plant ruptured on June 20, 2007, flooding the plant wth debris and water. For the past 10 months, cleanup and repairs has been under way ” roughly a $12 million fix.



“The penstock is where the problem was,” Eggleston said. “We realigned both penstocks and have also reinforced them with concrete barriers.”

In addition, the generators that create the electricity have been rewound ” probably for the first time in the plant’s history, Eggleston said.




“Back 100 years ago, things were done very differently,” he said. ” Our guys went into it and had challenges on trying to figure out how to rewind them.”

The generators didn’t necessarily need to be rewound, Eggleston added, but the shutdown was a convenient time to do the maintenance work.

Besides repairing the obvious problems, not much else has been done to upgrade or change the historical integrity of the plant itself. Its power output ” up to 15 megawatts, according to Xcel ” won’t change when it comes back on line.

Plant operators will begin to test the systems within the next couple of weeks to ensure they are working properly before the plant is up and running, Eggleston said.

The plant doesn’t serve any residential customers but it does have an impact on Colorado River water users. The generating station does not consume water, but commands important flows in the Colorado River, which benefit fish, rafters and multitudes of other Western Slope water users.

The plant is one of seven hydroelectric power plants owned and operated by Xcel Energy in Colorado.

jgardner@postindependent.com

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