Thomson Dam (Minnesota)

Last updated

Thomson Dam
Thomson Dam, Minnesota.jpg
Downstream face of the main Thomson Dam on the St. Louis River in 2017
USA Minnesota relief location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Thomson Dam in Minnesota
Location Carlton County, Minnesota, U.S.
Coordinates 46°39′59.10″N92°24′25.80″W / 46.6664167°N 92.4071667°W / 46.6664167; -92.4071667 Coordinates: 46°39′59.10″N92°24′25.80″W / 46.6664167°N 92.4071667°W / 46.6664167; -92.4071667
Purpose Power
StatusOperational
Construction began1905
Opening date1907
1914-48 expanded [1]
2012 damaged
2014 reconstructed
Built by Great Northern Railway
Owner(s) Minnesota Power
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Earth Embankment, Concrete Gravity, Arch
Impounds Saint Louis River
HeightMain: 15 ft (4.6 m) [2]
Canal: 45 ft (14 m)
LengthMain: 1,600 ft (490 m) [2]
Canal: 3,500 ft (1,100 m)
Spillways 2
Spillway typegated
Spillway capacity60,000 cu ft/s (1,700 m3/s) [3]
Reservoir
CreatesThomson Reservoir
Total capacity4,352 acre⋅ft (5,368,000 m3) [2]
Catchment area 9,154 sq mi (23,710 km2) [2]
Surface area649 acres (263 ha) [4]
Thomson Hydro
Coordinates 46°39′17.91″N92°20′1.032″W / 46.6549750°N 92.33362000°W / 46.6549750; -92.33362000
Hydraulic head 375 ft (114 m)
Turbines 6 [1]
Installed capacity 72 MW [1]
Annual generation 280 GWh [5]
Website
http://mphydro.com/

Thomson Dam, also known as the Thomson Hydro Station [1] or Thomson Water Project, [6] is an embankment and concrete gravity dam on the Saint Louis River near the town of Thomson in northeastern Minnesota, United States. It consists of a 1600-foot (488 m) long primary structure and multiple supplementary dams which, together with precambrian rock outcrops known as the Thomson formation, impound the river to create Thomson Reservoir.

Contents

The tallest dam in the complex is 51.6 feet (16 m) and the longest is 3500 feet (1067 m). A series of gate houses, a canal, forebay, and underground penstocks supply a hydropower plant located 3 miles away in Jay Cooke State Park. With an installed capacity of 72 MW and an annual generation of approximately 280 GWh, the Thomson project is the largest hydroelectric facility in the state. [7]

History

Thomson Dam was completed in 1907 by Great Northern Power, an operating division of the Great Northern Railway. The generating station was expanded in 1914 with the addition of Unit 4. [1] Unit 5 was added in 1918 and Unit 6 in 1948. Railroad tracks built into the generator floor allowed for installation and maintenance of the equipment. The complex was later transferred to the Saint Louis Power Company. Today it is owned by Minnesota Power, a division of Allete, Inc. [8]

Heavy rains in June 2012 created an historic flood in the region which overtopped the dam, breached the forebay canal and severely damaged the hydroelectric station. Following $90 million in reconstruction and upgrades, including the addition of a new emergency spillway, the facility came back online in November, 2014. Additional upgrades will continue through 2018, including removal of the original 46kV transmission line equipment in favor of other, higher voltage equipment that was added later. [3] [9]

Structures

The most visible part of Thomson Dam is the primary structure straddling the Saint Louis River channel near Minnesota State Highway 210. However, the Thomson Project is actually composed of multiple dams and control structures, several of which have been rebuilt and merged over the years. Today the United States Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams (NID) counts 18 structures as part of the complex, with 14 formally listed as separate. [2]

Thomson Dam - NID Registered Structures
Dam IDOther IDNameHeightWidthType
MN00604Thomson Dam15 ft (4.6 m)1,600 ft (490 m) Embankment and concrete gravity
MN00604S010Thomson Canal Dam45 ft (14 m)3,500 ft (1,100 m) Embankment
MN83020S011Thomson Dam #1-1/210 ft (3.0 m)90 ft (27 m) Embankment
MN83021S001Thomson Dam #2A, 2B23 ft (7.0 m)530 ft (160 m)na
MN83022S012Thomson Dam #2-1/29 ft (2.7 m)130 ft (40 m) Concrete gravity
MN83023S002Thomson Dam #3
(Nos 2-3/4, 3, 3A, 4, 4A)
38 ft (12 m)1,322 ft (403 m) Concrete gravity
MN83024S003Thomson Dam #523 ft (7.0 m)100 ft (30 m) Concrete gravity
MN83025S013Thomson Dam #5-1/223 ft (7.0 m)115 ft (35 m) Concrete gravity
MN83026S004Thomson Dam #651.6 ft (15.7 m)125 ft (38 m) Concrete arch
MN83027S005Thomson Dam #812 ft (3.7 m)100 ft (30 m)na
MN83028S006Thomson Dam #911 ft (3.4 m)100 ft (30 m) Concrete gravity
MN83029S007Thomson Dam #1011 ft (3.4 m)80 ft (24 m) Concrete gravity
MN83030S008Thomson Dam #11
(Nos. 11, 11-1/2 and Upper Gate House)
17 ft (5.2 m)365 ft (111 m) Concrete gravity
MN83031S009Thomson Dam #1212 ft (3.7 m)450 ft (140 m) Embankment

See also

Related Research Articles

Hydropower Power generation via movement of water

Hydropower, also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water to produce electricity or to power machines. This is achieved by converting the gravitational potential or kinetic energy of a water source to produce power. Hydropower is a method of sustainable energy production.

Small hydro Hydroelectric project at the local level with a few MW production

Small hydro is the development of hydroelectric power on a scale suitable for local community and industry, or to contribute to distributed generation in a regional electricity grid. Exact definitions vary, but a "small hydro" project is less than 50 megawatts (MW), and can be further subdivide by scale into "mini" (<1MW), "micro" (<100 kW), "pico" (<10 kW). In contrast many hydroelectric projects are of enormous size, such as the generating plant at the Three Gorges Dam at 22,500 megawatts or the vast multiple projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Hydroelectricity Electricity generated by hydropower

Hydroelectricity, or hydroelectric power, is electricity produced from hydropower. In 2020 hydropower generated one sixth of the world's electricity, almost 4500 TWh, which was more than all other renewables combined and also more than nuclear power.

Micro hydro Hydroelectric power generation of 5 to 100 kW of electricity

Micro hydro is a type of hydroelectric power that typically produces from 5 kW to 100 kW of electricity using the natural flow of water. Installations below 5 kW are called pico hydro. These installations can provide power to an isolated home or small community, or are sometimes connected to electric power networks, particularly where net metering is offered. There are many of these installations around the world, particularly in developing nations as they can provide an economical source of energy without the purchase of fuel. Micro hydro systems complement solar PV power systems because in many areas water flow, and thus available hydro power, is highest in the winter when solar energy is at a minimum. Micro hydro is frequently accomplished with a pelton wheel for high head, low flow water supply. The installation is often just a small dammed pool, at the top of a waterfall, with several hundred feet of pipe leading to a small generator housing. In low head sites, generally water wheels and Archimedes screws are used.

Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant Niagara River dam in New York State

The Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station is a hydroelectric power station in Lewiston, New York, near Niagara Falls. Owned and operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the plant diverts water from the Niagara River above Niagara Falls and returns the water into the lower portion of the river near Lake Ontario. It uses 13 generators at an installed capacity of 2,525 MW (3,386,000 hp).

Salal Dam Dam in Jammu and Kashmir

Salal Dam, also known as Salal Hydroelectric Power Station, is a run-of-the-river hydropower project on the Chenab River in the Reasi district of the Jammu and Kashmir. It was the first hydropower project built by India in Jammu and Kashmir under the Indus Water Treaty regime. After having reached a bilateral agreement with Pakistan in 1978, with significant concessions made to Pakistan in the design of the dam, reducing its height, eliminating operating pool, and plugging the under-sluices meant for sediment management, India completed the project in 1987. The concessions made in the interest of bilateralism damaged the long-term sustainability of the dam, which silted up in five years. It currently runs at 57% capacity factor. Its long-term future is uncertain.

Run-of-the-river hydroelectricity Hydroelectric power station

Run-of-river hydroelectricity (ROR) or run-of-the-river hydroelectricity is a type of hydroelectric generation plant whereby little or no water storage is provided. Run-of-the-river power plants may have no water storage at all or a limited amount of storage, in which case the storage reservoir is referred to as pondage. A plant without pondage is subject to seasonal river flows, thus the plant will operate as an intermittent energy source. Conventional hydro uses reservoirs, which regulate water for flood control, dispatchable electrical power, and the provision of fresh water for agriculture.

Oroville–Thermalito Complex

The Oroville–Thermalito Complex is a group of reservoirs, structures, and facilities located in and around the city of Oroville in Butte County, California. The complex serves not only as a regional water conveyance and storage system, but is the headwaters for, and therefore perhaps is the most vital part of, the California Department of Water Resources' State Water Project, as one the largest publicly built and operated water and power development and conveyance systems.

According to the International Hydropower Association, Canada is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world in 2021 after the United States, Brazil, and China. In 2014, Canada consumed the equivalent of 85.7 megatonnes worth of oil of hydroelectricity, 9.8% of worldwide hydroelectric consumption. Furthermore, hydroelectricity accounted for 25.7% of Canada's total energy consumption. It is the third-most consumed energy in Canada behind oil and natural gas.

Mingachevir Dam Dam in Mingachevir

The Mingachevir Dam is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Kura River just north of Mingachevir in Azerbaijan. It serves several purposes to include hydroelectric power production and water storage for irrigation. The Mingachevir reservoir, behind the dam, supplies water to the Upper Qarabag and Upper Sirvan Channels which help irrigate about 1,000,000 ha of farmland in the country. Its six Francis turbine-generators were overhauled or replaced with 70 megawatts (94,000 hp) sets in 2000. Mingachevir reservoir has a storage capacity of 15.730 cubic kilometres (12,753,000 acre⋅ft), covering 605 km2 (234 sq mi). The length of the dam is 1,550 metres (5,090 ft), its width is 16 metres (52 ft) and height is 80 m (260 ft). It is the largest hydroelectric power station in the South Caucasus, is located over Kur river and not far from Mingachevir city.

Ohio Falls Station is a hydroelectric power station owned by Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) which is located three miles west of Downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The generating station is located on Shippingport Island at the site of the McAlpine Dam and locks along the Ohio River in Kentucky. The plant was built in 1923 by Byllesby Engineering and Management Corporation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The plant featured eight 10.4 MW units operating at roughly 13,500 hp per unit. Each unit was composed of Allis Chamber turbines and General Electric generators. The plant is located inside the Ohio Natural Wildlife Conservation Area and is considered a large impoundment hydro power plant. The station was built after a canal and dam within the Ohio river in an attempt to allow boats to navigate the 8 ft vertical drop among the falls that spanned 2 miles wide. Production of the canal and dam began in 1825. It was not until a repair on the dam was needed that Louisville engineers had the idea of building a hydroelectric station to harvest the power of the falls.

Broadlands Dam Dam in Kitulgala

The Broadlands Dam is a 35 MW run-of-the-river hydroelectric complex currently under construction in Kitulgala, Sri Lanka. The project is expected to be completed in 2020, and will consist of two dams, and a power station further downstream.

The Duber Khwar Hydropower Plant is located near the town of Pattan in Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan on the Duber Khwar River, a right bank tributary of the Indus River. It is approximately 340 km NW from Islamabad, the federal capital of Pakistan.

The Bedford Hydropower Project (Snowden) is a hydroelectric generation facility on the James River near the community of Big Island, Virginia. The project includes a low head structure completely spanning the river; river flow is split into a concrete canal leading to the hydroelectric generation facility and the natural river course.

The Moragolla Dam is a planned hydroelectric dam in Moragolla, Sri Lanka. The dam is to be 35 m (115 ft) high and is planned to create the 1,980,000 m3 (70,000,000 cu ft) Moragolla Reservoir with a maximum supply level at 548 m (1,798 ft) MSL. Upon completion, the Moragolla Power Station would have a gross installed capacity of 30 megawatts from two francis turbines, capable of generating approximately 85 GWh annually.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Thomson Hydro Station". Minnesota Power: Our System. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "CorpsMap: National Inventory of Dams". United States Army Corps of Engineers. October 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  3. 1 2 Peterson, Jana; Lund, Jamie (June 22, 2017). "Carlton County rebuilds smarter after devastating 2012 flood". Pine Journal. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  4. "Thomson Reservoir". Minnesota Power: Reservoirs and Recreation. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  5. "2015 Integrated Resource Plan" (PDF). Minnesota Power. September 1, 2015.
  6. "Thomson Dam, Thomson, MN". John A. Weeks III. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  7. "Listing of Minnesota Hydropower Facility Sites" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  8. "Hometown Hydropower: History". Minnesota Power. April 23, 1979. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  9. "Minnesota Power invests in safety improvements to hydro system". Minnesota Power is an ALLETE Company. January 20, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.