Hydro Power Plant at Ames, Colorado

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Located near Ophir, Colorado, in the Illium valley, the Ames Station is the world's first generating station to produce and transmit alternating current. First built in 1891 to power the Gold King Mine, the current structure became operational in 1906.

As you walk into the station, the first thing to fill your eyes is the 3,600 kilowatt alternating current generator. Even though the generator turns at a slow 225 r.p.m., the sound in the room will fill your ears too! The camera's photo flash stops the motion so you can see the spokes in the generator's rotor.

Two Pelton wheels power the generator from two different penstock sources. Water sources are from Trout Lake and Lake Hope. A flow governor can be seen at the left.

This photo shows one of the main bearings and the slip rings. These slip rings bring in direct current energy to feed the rotating field coils. The stator is hard wired to the output bus to feed alternating current energy to the switch yard and step-up transformers. The power grid is fed at 115,000 volts.

Generator Brass Tag: This is number 117822 with ouput of 2,400 volts, and 1,082 amperes at a speed of 225 R.P.M. The patent dates are August 25, 1899 - May 15, 1900 - November 20, 1900 - December 2, 1902 and October 4, 1904. General Electric Company of Schnectady, NY.

Steve Bennett was our tour guide. The generator's exciter is at the right.

Plant Control Panel

You can hear the steady roar of the Pelton cups on the other side of the road at the spillway. Absolute ZERO pollution here.

Plant Site and 115,000 volt switch yard.

Area History:
Western Colorado Power Company Collection

Look for our other power house photos of Telluride and Delta and Ouray.

Harry Matthews
P.O. Box 5612
Sarasota, FL 34277