Riverdale hydro, a run-of-the-river hydroelectric plant, is the second smallest hydro plant in Xcel Energy’s system and is located three miles north of Somerset, Wisconsin on the Apple River. When built, the site created an 85 acre impoundment. The emphasis of Riverdale’s summer operation is on maintaining an adequate daily summer river flow to accommodate the river’s tubing trips, many of which begin just downstream from the plant. The plant is remotely operated from the Wissota hydro plant.
The plant consists of a small, picturesque powerhouse, a narrow overflow spillway topped with three steel overflow gates, earthen embankments on the east and west sides, a three-gate sluice and a flume.
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.
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.
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