At River Classroom yesterday, we were treated to a tour of the power plant below Abiquiu Dam! This hydroelectric plant is operated by the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, and our tour guide explained the basics of hydroelectricity to our students. Since we have spent so much time discussing electricity this year, almost everything was familiar.
It turns out that the Abiquiu Power Plant isn’t that much different from the water wheels our students are making in class. It’s just on a much larger scale!
We found a lost lizard inside the power plant, and fortunately our reliable ranger was around to rescue and release it.
We learned that this power plant can’t control the amount of water coming out of the lake. It has to make power with what it can get. Yesterday it was producing 1.5 megawatts. At top production, it can generate 15 megawatts! That only happens when the river is running much higher than the 172 or so cfs it was running yesterday.
We are very grateful to both our partners with USACE at Abiquiu Lake and to our fantastic tour guide from the Department of Public Utilities for helping us set up this fantastic experience!
After our tour and a quick lunch, we had just enough time to sample benthic macroinvertebrates.
Lately we’ve been finding a huge number of mayflies.
As always, it was a fantastic day with our River Classroom. We only have a few more sessions before the summer break, so we have to soak up these experiences!