The Holcombe Hydroelectric plant, located on the Chippewa River, is remotely operated by the Wissota Hydro plant as a peaking plant. The Holcombe plant is a product of the post-World War II economic boom when demand for energy was high. NSP planners foresaw the need for peaking power generation that could be brought on line quickly to provide energy at times when electric demand was increased. The construction of the plant involved the flooding of approximately 4000 acres of forest and swamp land. Area residents who live around the flowage, as well as vacations enjoy waterskiing, boating, hunting and fishing by this plant.
Holcombe is the first of six Xcel Energy hydro plants downstream of the Chippewa Reservoir Dam on the Chippewa River. In addition to generating electricity, Holcombe provides abundant recreational opportunities on the river flowage.
From an environmental perspective, hydro is a clean, renewable fuel, and Xcel Energy manages its dam operations to protect the aquatic environment and improve recreational opportunities.
As a source of electricity, hydropower is advantageous in that the fuel costs nothing. In addition, hydro facilities have low operating and maintenance costs, and their useful lifetime is well over 50 years.
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