Hydroelectric Power Plants in California
Big Creek-1
Location: CA
Operator: Southern California Edison Co
Configuration: 4 turbines, 77.8 MW
Operation: 1913-1925
T/G supplier: AC, Pelton Water Wheel, GE, WH

Photograph courtesy of Edison International
Posted 14 Jul 2004

Borel
Location: CA
Operator: Southern California Edison Co
Configuration: 2 X 3 MW, 1 X 6 MW
Operation: 1904-1931
T/G supplier: ??
Quick facts: This HPP is located on the Kern River, near the town of Godfish in Kern Co. The plant is named after San Francisco financier Antoine Borel, a partner with Henry E Huntington in Pacific Light and Power Co. The hydropower project was originally built for the PLP Red Electric Streetcar transportation system in Los Angeles. A 12mi system of flumes and canals transported water from the north fork of the Kern River to the powerhouse. The plant has a 230ft head with five 438ft long, 60in diameter penstocks. A 127mi, 55kV line sent power to LA. In 1917, PL&P merged with SCE. The photo dates to the 1920s.

Photograph courtesy of California Digital Library
Posted 3 May 2014

Camino
Location: CA
Operator: Sacramento Municipal Utility Dist
Configuration: 2 X 77 MW Francis
Operation: 1963-1968
T/G supplier: Pelton Water Wheel, MHI, GE, Toshiba
Quick facts: SMUD was licensed in 1957 for the Upper American River Project. Camino Dam is a concrete double curvature, 470ft arch dam located on Silver Creek. It is 133ft high with and has three integral bulkhead gates. These structures create Camino Reservoir. From there a 5mi power tunnel with a diameter ranging from 13-14ft connects to the powerhouse penstocks.

Photograph courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility Dist
Posted 26 May 2007

Cow Creek
Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 2 X 720 kW
Operation: 1907
T/G supplier: Pelton Water Wheel, GE
Quick facts: This plant was built by H H Nobelss in South Cow Creek Valley.

Photograph courtesy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Posted 12 Oct 2005

Farad
Location: CA
Operator: Truckee Meadows Water Authority
Configuration: 2 X 1.4 MW Francis
Operation: 1899 (rebuilt 1933)
T/G supplier: AC, WH
Quick facts: Farad was built in 1899 by Truckee River General Electric Co, a corporate predecessor of Sierra Pacific Power Co, and is one of four minihydro plants built to power silver mines in the Comstock Lode. In Sep 2000, Sierra Pacific Resources announced it would sell its water business and the cities or Reno and Sparks plus Washoe Co formed TMWA to acquire the related assets including the four minihydros. Farad has been out of service since 1997 when its approach flume washed out.

Photograph courtesy of Combined Cycle Journal
Posted 9 Sep 2009

Drop-4
Location: CA
Operator: Imperial Irrigation Dist
Configuration: 1 X 10 MW, 1 X 9.6 MW propeller
Operation: 1941-1950
T/G supplier: AC, Newport News, GE, Elliott
Quick facts: This 1941 photo shows the newly-completed HPP at Drop-4 on the All-American Canal near El Centro. The site also houses the control center for all seven of IID's hydro plants. Having passed through Drop 3 about 5mi upstream, the water enters a forebay with three gates for each of T/G. Unit-1, the second online, has variable turbine blades, while Unit-2 has fixed blades. The gates maintain the canal's level between drops around 92ft above sea level, which also provides for the proper amount of "drop" onto the turbine, about 50ft. The gates are 18 to 19ft high and 13 to 14ft wide.

Photograph courtesy of Imperial Irrigation Dist
Posted 22 Sep 2013

Folsom Dam
Location: CA
Operator: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 3 X 66 MW Francis
Operation: 1955
T/G supplier: Newport News, WH
Quick facts: Folsom Dam is a concrete gravity structure 340ft high and 1,400ft long. It is part of the Central Valley Project.

Photograph courtesy of USBR
Posted 28 Dec 2004

Hat Creek-1
Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 1 X 10 MW Francis
Operation: 1921
T/G supplier: Wellman-Seaver-Morgan, GE
Quick facts: This plant was originally built by Red River Lumber Co and purchased by PG&E in 1945. The Hat Creek plants use water from Hat Creek, Rock Creek, and Crystal Lake.

Photograph courtesy of ShastaCountyHistory.com
Posted 11 Aug 2010

Hat Creek-2
Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 1 X 10 MW Francis
Operation: 1921
T/G supplier: Wellman-Seaver-Morgan, GE
Quick facts: This plant was originally built by Red River Lumber Co and purchased by PG&E in 1945.

Photograph courtesy of ShastaCountyHistory.com
Posted 11 Aug 2010

James B Black
Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 2 X 85 MW Pelton
Operation: 1965-1966
T/G supplier: BLH, GE
Quick facts: This plant is named after J B Black who served as PG&E's President for 20yrs. It is part of the Shata River system and uses water delivered from the Iron Gate Reservoir on the McCloud River delivered though an 8mi, 17ft diameter tunnel and a 1mi penstock. The powerhouse is a three-level, reinforced concrete structure containing two vertical Pelton turbines each rated at 104,000hp. They operate at a normal maximum gross head of 1,226ft.

Photograph courtesy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Posted 8 Aug 2010

Judge Francis Carr
Location: CA
Operator: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 2 X 77.2 MW Francis
Operation: 1963
T/G supplier: Hitachi, GE
Quick facts: Judge F Carr is part of the Central Valley Project where initial development started in 1935.

Photograph courtesy of USBR
Posted 14 Jul 2004

Nimbus
Location: CA
Operator: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 2 X 6.8 MW Kaplan
Operation: 1955
T/G supplier: SMS, Elliott
Quick facts: Nimbus Dam forms Lake Natoma which re-regulates water releases through Folsom power plant. Nimbus Dam is a concrete gravity structure 87ft high and 1,093ft long.

Photograph courtesy of USBR
Posted 10 Mar 2005

Parker Dam
Location: CA
Operator: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 4 X 30 MW Francis
Operation: 1942-1943
T/G supplier: AC, WH
EPC: USBR, J F Shea Co
Quick facts: Parker Dam is a concrete arch, gravity dam spanning the Colorado River between Arizona and California 155mi downstream from Hoover Dam. It was built between1934 and 1938 and impounds Lake Havasu, which provides reservoir storage the Colorado River and Central Arizona Project Aqueducts serving Los Angeles and San Diego. Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world with almost three-quarters of its structural height of 320ft being below the original riverbed. 235ft of the Colorado riverbed was excavated before concrete was placed for the dam's foundation. The crest length is 856ft. This photo was taken in Jun 1944.

Photograph by Dmitri Kessel (Life archive on Google)
Posted 7 Mar 2009

Pit-6
Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 2 X 39.6 MW Francis
Operation: 1965
T/G supplier: AC, WH

Photograph courtesy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Posted 10 Oct 2010

Pit-7
Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 1 X 57, 1 X 52 MW Francis
Operation: 1965
T/G supplier: AC, WH

Photograph courtesy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Posted 10 Oct 2010

Shasta
Location: CA
Operator: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 2 X 125 MW, 3 X 142 MW, 2 X 2 MW Francis
Operation: 1944-1949
T/G supplier: AC, Leffel, GE
EPC: USBR
Quick facts: Shasta is a curved concrete gravity dam on the Sacramento River northwest of Redding. The dam was built from 1938-1945 and modified in 1995-1996. It is 602ft high with a crest length of 3,460ft. The construction was led by Frank Crowe and included many other workers from the Hoover Dam project. Water from the dam is released through five 15ft penstocks to the main generating units and two station service units. The tailwater is used at Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery just downstream of the powerhouse. The switchyard and transmission lines were operated by USBR until October 1977, when they were transferred to WAPA. Units 1&2 were uprated to 125 MW each in 1980. Units 3-5 were uprated in 1968-1974 and Units 4&5 were uprated again to 142 MW in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

Photograph courtesy of www.shastalake.com
Posted 15 Sep 2007

Slab Creek
Location: CA
Operator: Sacramento Municipal Utility Dist
Configuration: 1 X 450 kW Francis
Operation: 1983
T/G supplier: Kvaerner
Quick facts: Slab Creek Dam is a 817ft long, 250ft high double-curvature variable radius concrete arch dam on the South Fork American River. A 40ft, 24in steel penstock passes through the dam to the powerhouse.

Photograph courtesy of Sacramento Municipal Utility Dist
Posted 26 May 2007

Thermalito
Location: CA
Operator: California Dept of Water Resources
Configuration: 1 X 33 MW Propeller, 3 X 28 MW FPT
Operation: 1967-1968
T/G supplier: AC

Photograph courtesy of California DWR
Posted 2 Feb 2005

Abbreviations

Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 03-May-2014

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