Spinning shaft at Grand Coulee Dam
Looks like the spinning counter display, in the power house, tallying up the dollars that come in from power sales. Thousands per minute. Millions and billions over the years.
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of spinning turbine being explained
Like being in a small theater, several rows of benches face the glass front of the elevater as we glide down the face of the dam on an incline. We glide to a stop inside a huge power house and the tour guide lets us out. Look down on a grand room full of generators. The rotor of each unit is said to weigh as much as 20 747 jets.
Then it is back into the elevator and a trip down to an inner floor. We emerge again in a concrete passageway and walk to a window. Inside is the spinning shaft of one generator. It doesn't have to be loud to be ominous. The milled precision and power of the machine turning out power for entire cities.
These three images include siting in the glass elevator going down the incline into the third power house. Looking at a giant substation near the dam in the dry area of eastern Washington. Face of Grand Coulee from distance. Third power house is out of picture to left.
Image taken 1993.
"Bigger than your electric fan." Each one of these huge motors is rated at 65,000 horsepower! They pump water out of Lake Roosevelt and up into another reservoir called Banks Reservoir. This water is used in the Columbia Basin irrigation project. Much of central Washington's potato crops and corn fields owe their existence to the water from Banks Reservoir.
The reservoir also serves as a giant water power bank. Some people would liken it to a huge rechargeable battery. When water is lifted up into the reservoir, it is like depositing energy in a bank. Occasionally, when extra electric power is needed by the residents of the Pacific Northwest, a few of these motors can turn around and serve as generators. Water falling back out of Banks Reservoir can bring back some of the power that it took to push it up there; sort of like discharging a battery. This "power storage" system can be used to help the region ride out its "peaks" and "lows" in power consumption.