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Tacoma Hydro Generating Station

Tacoma Hydro Generating Station

This is a hydroelectric generating station


Location: North of Rockwood, Colo., in the Animas River Canyon; accessible via narrow gauge railroad.

Plant Description: Tacoma is a hydroelectric generating station.

Power Production Capabilities: The plant has three units capable of producing a total of 4.5 MW of electricity.

Fuel Source: Water is stored and then released from Electra Lake Reservoir.

Plant History

The first two units at the plant went into service in 1905 and 1906. A third unit was added in 1949. The plant originally provided power for Durango and Silverton mining operations. Public Service Company of Colorado, a predecessor to Xcel Energy, acquired the plant as part of its acquisition of Colorado-Ute properties in 1992.

Interesting Features

Water for plant operations comes from 18 miles upstream on Cascade Creek, where it passes through a 4,400-foot open wooden flume, one of only two wooden flumes still operating on hydro projects in the United States. Electra Lake provides 22,000-acre feet of storage for year-round operations. The plant’s powerhouse is located in Animas River Canyon and is accessible only by a narrow gauge train or track car.

Environmental Highlights

With water as its only fuel, Tacoma Hydro has no air, land or water emissions.

Community Involvement

Tacoma Hydro provides annual tours to local colleges and vocational schools. It is a popular tour site for historical groups and local hiking clubs.

For more information contact:

Colorado Plant Information and Tour Request
Colorado Media Inquiries
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