Water into Watts

salida hydroelectric

A Local Hydroelectric Plant Passes the Century Mark

By Ron Sering

There are many remarkable things about Salida Hydroelectric station two. The location itself is dense with history. The distinctive red brick powerhouse is situated a short distance from the train track that once linked Salida with its historic mining operations. The Victorian structure and the generator it houses have an elegance that modern designs can’t match.

The facility’s other distinguishing feature is its longevity. Apart from changes in instrumentation and upgrades to the turbines, the generator looks and functions much as it did when it was first installed in 1906. Pipes feed water past two turbines, which turn the generator at a relatively sedate 200 rpm. Currently owned and operated by Xcel Energy, the generator churns out a maximum of 400 kilowatts of emission-free power, as it has for the better part of a century.

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