LOVELAND, Colo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation is pleased to announce the return to service of the Big Thompson Power Plant. Located at the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon, the small plant was damaged during the September floods of 2013.
"We are extremely pleased with the recovery of this small plant," said Eastern Colorado Area Manager, Jaci Gould. "The Big T Plant is a symbol of green energy. It provides electricity at a low cost using a renewable resource: water. We're glad to have it back on line."
While the majority of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project facilities impacted by the flood returned to service within a matter of weeks, the Big T Plant was harder hit. During the flood, the river rerouted itself at the mouth of the canyon, erasing the afterbay of the plant. It also broadened from 30 to 300 feet and buried the tailrace, where water exits the plant, under 12 feet of sediment. A large tree trunk was driven partially through the plant's upstream wall.
Reclamation's operations and maintenance crew took proactive measures by running back-up generators during the rain and flood event, more work ranging from manual debris removal to equipment testing continued for months afterward. Reclamation resources and engineering staff also worked closely with the State of Colorado, State contractors, other federal agencies and local neighbors in the recovery of the power plant and adjacent riverbank.
"Overall, it's been a lot of hours by our teams and important partnerships with others," said Monica Griffitt, Chief of Engineering at the Eastern Colorado Area Office. "Teamwork is what really pulled us through."
The Big Thompson Power Plant is one of six plants on the C-BT. Together, they provide enough hydro-electricity to power 58,000 American homes a year. To learn more about Reclamation hydropower, please visit www.usbr.gov.
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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.