Yesterday I wrote about the intake and penstock, today I will look at the power plant. In the photo above you can see the bare ground where the penstock is buried which goes down to the power plant. There the water in the 48” (1.2m) pipe is forced through a 4 inch (10cm) nozzle where it hits a wheel with cup-like appendages with great force, causing it to turn the turbines, generating the electricity.
The force of the water is so great that the cement pad that the power plant sits on had to be 11 ft (3.35 m) thick. The water is then channeled back into the river. The electricity is sent through transmission lines and joins BC’s main electrical grid, I am guessing 30km (18 miles) away. It will pour 6 megawatts of power into the grid at the point of connection for 7 months a year.
This is great news for McBride, which during the summer of 2003 had to exist without electricity for a month when the transmission lines from its far away main source of power were destroyed in a forest fire. Castle Mountain will now, in case of a similar emergency, be able to supply the community with the power it needs, otherwise the power just goes onto the grid. The building of the hydro plant put something like 3 million dollars into the community, employing a lot of locals.
Below are photos of one of the two generators and the outflow which takes the used water back to the river.
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