Hydroelectric Plants in Colorado
Boulder Canyon
Location: CO
Operator: City of Boulder
Configuration: 2 X 10 MW Pelton
Operation: 1911
T/G supplier: GE
Quick facts: The plant was acquired in 2001 by the City of Boulder from Xcel Energy unit Public Service Colorado. Boulder Canyon was partially rebuilt in 1958.

Photograph by C Bergesen
Posted 25 Jun 2003

Blue Mesa
Location: CO
Operator: US Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 2 X 43 MW Francis
Operation: 1967
T/G supplier: Hitachi, AC
Quick facts: Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest lake in Colorado.

Photograph courtesy of USBR
Posted 28 Dec 2004

Estes Park
Location: CO
Operator: US Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 3 X 15 MW Francis
Operation: 1949
T/G supplier: AC, GE
Quick facts: The Estes Park plant is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project (CBT), approved by President Franklin Roosevelt in December 1937. CBT is one of the most complex developments undertaken by USBR and has over 100 structures spread over 250mi in Colorado. It diverts water from the Colorado River on the western slope of the Continental Divide to the eastern slope. The Estes facility takes diversion water delivered from Marys Lake and holds it in Lake Estes while also generating hydroelectricity. Construciton began in May 1947.

Photograph by C Bergesen
Posted 8 Jun 2003

Marys Lake
Location: CO
Operator: US Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 1 X 8.1 MW Francis
Operation: 1951
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts: Marys Lake provides afterbay and forebay capacity for reregulating water flow and Marys Lake discharges into Estes power plant. Construciton began in May 1947.

Photograph by C Bergesen
Posted 18 Feb 2006

Mayflower Mill
Location: CO
Operator: San Juan County Historical Society
Configuration: 1 X 8 kW
Operation: 2013
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts: This microhydro plant about 1mi north of Silverton near the Animas river was built to provide electricity for the historic Mayflower Mill. After considerable delay, the project was largely exempted from FERC regulation after passage of the Hydropower Regulator Efficiency Act streamlining the development process for plans under 5 MW. The Mayflower Mill produced gold, silver, and base metals and was the single longest-operating ore mill in the San Juan Mountains, in service from1930-1991 with one 12yr interruption. It is a National Historic Landmark. The ore mill was donated to the historical society by Sunnyside Gold Corp in 1998 and parts are now open for self-guded tours. Water for the MHP comes from Arrastra Creek. The Colorado State Historical Fund put up $75K for the project and this was supplemented by $25K from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority and $10K from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Photograph courtesy of durangoherald.com
Posted 29 Nov 2013

Morrow Point
Location: CO
Operator: US Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 2 X 87 MW Francis
Operation: 1970-1971
T/G supplier: Toshiba
Quick facts: The Morrow Point powerhouse is tunneled into the canyon wall in the left abutment of the Morrow Point Dam about 400ft below the ground surface. The powerplant chamber is 231ft long and 57ft wide.

Photograph courtesy of USBR
Posted 10 Apr 2005

Salida
Location: CO
Operator: Xcel Energy
Configuration: 1 X 800 kW, 1 X 600 kW
Operation: 1906-1929
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts: This project was originally built in 1906 to provide power for local mining interests. A single new unit was installed in the upper plant in 1929 to replace two original smaller units. The lower plant was built in 1906 with two units, one of which has since been retired. This project and Shoshone hydro plant were part of the Colorado Power Co which in 1924 became part of Public Service Co of Colorado, a predecessor to Xcel Energy.

Photograph courtesy of Xcel Energy
Posted 4 Mar 2006

Shoshone
Location: CO
Operator: Xcel Energy
Configuration: 2 X 7.5 MW
Operation: 1909
T/G supplier: AC, GE
Quick facts: Construction of a 2.4mi diversion tunnel from a dam on the Colorado River to the site began in 1907 and the plant started-up two years later. The plant has the most senior water rights on the Colorado River dating to 1902. A 115kV line from the plant runs 153mi to Denver and was an impressive engineering feat for its time. Owner Colorado Power Co merged with Public Service Colorado in 1924.

Photograph courtesy of Xcel Energy
Posted 4 Mar 2006

Abbreviations

Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 30-Nov-2013

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