Thornapple Hydro, located on the lower Flambeau River about ten miles from Ladysmith, is a run-of-the-river operation. The location where Thornapple Hydro stands was once a pulp mill. The original dam was built in 1909, with the hydro facilities being constructed in 1929. Since its first construction, the dam has been washed out three times. In the early 1980s the system was upgraded and a foot was added to Thornapple’s operating head. The plant is remotely operated from the Wissota hydro plant.
Since its first construction, the dam has been washed out three times. In the early 1980s, the dam was upgraded and a foot was added to Thornapple's operating head.
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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