Dickinson County
Michigan News


Pictures of October 26, 2016 Tour of
WE Energies' new Twin Falls Hydroelectric Station

Water enters the plant through these grates, which are designed to remove from the incoming water any debris that might cause damage to the turbines which drive the generators.
The mechanism shown above is used to remove debris which collects against the grates.
The device shown in the photo above is used to raise and lower the primary gates controlling delivery of water into the generating station.
The photos above and below demonstrate the scale of the penstocks, or pipes which carry water from the primary intake to the turbine chambers.
The diagram below shows the basic configuration, with the generator assembly at the top of the image, and the turbines midway on the image.  These assemblies were provided by Canadian Hydro Components.
The actual turbines installed at Twin Falls have four blades, and operate at 900 PSI with a water head of 45 feet.
The above photos depict the chambers below the penstocks and turbines.  These "pipes' carry the water back to the river after it has passed through the turbines, which are contained in the upper portion of the pictured structure.
This series of photos depict the working part of the hydroelectric station, the generators.  These new generators are able to produce 50% more electricity than their predecessors, thanks primarily to advances in the design of the turbines which drive the generators.  These new units, at maximum performance, will produce in excess of nine million watts of electricity, compared to the six megawatts produced by the old units.
The Hyundai-Ideal generators were also supplied by Canadian Hydro Components.  Each of the two generators at the Twin Falls plant can output up to 4.6 MW.  The generator's armature turns at 240 RPM, and produces power at 60 HZ.  Each generator weighs in at 70 tons.
The photo above depicts the "skylights' in the roof of the generator chambers.   While they provide pleasant daytime lighting for the interior of the plant, their primary purpose is to provide a means of installing and removing the extremely heavy parts of the generators.    The exterior of these "skylights" is shown below.
The generators themselves are cooled by a water/glycol mix, circulating through a closed-loop system at a rate of 40 gallons per minute.    The heat generated in the building is vented through wall fans and louvers, moving 25,000 cubic feet of air per minute.
It's a long ways up --- and a long ways down.
The following series of photos depict the various control system that operate the generating station.   If you know what they are, congratulations.  If you don't know what they are, join the club and just look at the pretty pictures.
It might surprise you to know that this entire facility can be run from this simple desktop computer.   But it is seldom used; only when operators want to take local control.  Normally, the facility is unmanned, and controlled entirely by remote control from WE Energies facilities in Green Bay.
Above is a view of the Menominee River below the hydroelectric station.  The photo below shows the river behind the dam.  The river level control gates are shown in the center of the photo.  These gates are not directly associated with the generation of power at the facility.
 The control equipment for these gates is shown in the photo below.
The down river side of these gates is depicted above and below.   The gates are 19 feet tall, 13 feet wide, and six inches thick. The bowed configuration of the gates provides the additional strength needed to hold back the Twin Falls/Badwaters Reservoir, behind the dam.  When raised or lowered these gates move at only one foot per minute.  Many of the parts of these structures are made of stainless steel, to prevent rusting and deterioration.  These gates are almost never opened.   The operator said that with these gates open, it wouldn't take long to "drain the pond."
Shown above and below are the former Twin Falls generating station.   This plant, which was originally used to compress air to operate equipment in the area mines, was too outdated and obsolete to be of any further use.  
All of the concrete and the building itself are expected to be removed by May of 2017.   By mid-summer of next year, the company expects to complete cleanup work, and begin work to restore portions of the original landscape.   The new plant is built entirely below the river level, and will hardly be visible from the river above.
The total cost of this project will exceed 62 Million Dollars.  The primary contractor for the project was CR Meyer.  The Engineer of Record is Black & Veatch, with headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.  We hope you've enjoyed this photo tour.  We'd like to express our thanks to the people at WE Energies, for the courtesies provided to us on this tour.