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Science and the Environment

New Turbine at Stockton Dam Celebrated as 'Clean Energy Source'


The Stockton Dam is expected to start generating hydroelectric power again by early June now that workers have finished building a new turbine. KSMU’s Julie Greene has more on the project and the benefits of having another clean energy source.

Last week, workers successfully attached the seventh and final blade on the Stockton Dam. The old turbine just had six blades. Each blade weighs about 17,000 pounds, and builders had to use a large, overhead crane for the job.

Thanks to the addition of a seventh blade, the new turbine is expected to boost hydropower by around 16 percent. It also uses less water than the previous one.

Rod Hendricks, who works with the Army Corps of Engineers at Stockton Lake, considers this project, which cost around $30 million to construct, to be the dam’s biggest improvement since the original turbine was installed in 1973.

“The unit has been in operation for over 40 years and has been a good, reliable source of energy, providing a lot of electricity to home and businesses in the area at quite a value. The estimated annual value of electricity from Stockton Dam is about $8.5 million,” Hendricks said.

Hydropower is recognized as a cheaper way to produce electricity based on its renewable capabilities with water and snowfall.

“Hydropower is a clean source of energy. Like solar or wind, it’s a good source of energy that offsets our dependency on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas,” Hendricks said.

The turbine is built, but it still needs to be installed in the Stockton Dam. Once the new turbine is installed in the Stockton Dam, water from Stockton Lake will flow through an intake and push against the turbine blades, causing it to rotate. The turbine then turns a generator that creates electricity.

The old turbine now rests above the highway that leads guests across the dam. Informational plaques will soon be on display for onlookers to learn more about hydropower.

For KSMU News, I’m Julie Greene.