Logo  




Tour of the S.M.U.D. Loon Lake Power Station
by Lance Clifford
Image001.jpg
The Entrance
Image002.jpg
The giant winch that lowers the trolley

The Sierras have many uses. For recreation such as four wheeling, snow skiing, hiking, etc. They also provide California with the majority of it's drinking water. What most people don't know is that the Sierras also provide the Sacramento valley with most of it's electricity.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has a very sophisticated network of hydro-electric plants in the Sierras. One of the most unique, is the power station located at Loon Lake, the gateway to the Rubicon Trail.

What's that, you say? You've never seen any hydroelectric dam at Loon Lake. Of course there are the two levee dams, but no hydroelectric dams. Well you are correct. That's because the hydroelctric facility at Loon Lake is under Loon Lake. Located 1,750 feet below the Earth's surface, lies a complete 70 megawatt facility.

Special thanks goes out to Chuck Vanderpool, senior SMUD technician for taking us on a tour of the facility. It was an incredible sight.

Image008.jpg
A look into the 1,750 foot abyss
Image010.jpg Image026.jpg Image011.jpg Standing on top of the 70 megawatt generator Image019.jpg
Inside the battery room
Image020.jpg
Just one of the many wiring cabinets
Image021.jpg
The cave is MASSIVE
Image023.jpg
Under the generator, this shaft is spinning at 200RPM
Image024.jpg
Here is a spare water wheel
Image025.jpg
Another look of the incredible facility located below. Note the giant crane above the generator
Image028.jpg
More electronic gadgets
Image031.jpg
One of six 'pins'
Image034.jpg
The tunnel where the water exits the generator. It's 5 miles from here to Gerle Creek. Note the "emergency raft".
Image035.jpg
Another shot of the tunnel. See the little dot? That's the end of the tunnel, 5 miles away.
Image037.jpg
Image038.jpg
This is where the water enters the facility and into the generator
Image040.jpg Image042.jpg
Looking up the trolley tunnel
Image047.jpg
Another shot of the exit tunnel
Image051.jpg
Riding the trolley back up.