LOCAL NEWS

New Olmsted Power Plant, Museum Opening At Provo River

Sep 12, 2018, 7:14 PM | Updated: Mar 29, 2020, 6:15 pm

PROVO, Utah – The Olmsted Power plant at the mouth of Provo Canyon is one of the oldest hydroelectric power plants in the western United States. The historic power plant was shut down three years ago after generating power for 111 years.

A newly-constructed plant started generating power in July, which officials said was about twice as efficient, while the old plant will be turned into a museum.

The old Olmsted Power Plant, which started generating power in 1904, was a marvel of its time and set the stage for the new Olmsted Power Plant, which is generating electricity from water for people on the Wasatch Front, right now.

“There was so much demand for the power in the day that they needed to get power from any supply they could,” said Daryl Devey, CUP manager for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

The Olmsted Plant replaced Nunn’s Power Plant further up the river, because it could generate more power that was used for work and lighting in the mines, and later for cities.

Water Supply Generates Hydroelectric Power

“We deliver water, and power is a byproduct of that water delivery,” said Devey.

An educational campus was even built next to the old plant at the mouth of the canyon that housed the Telluride Institute.

“It was used as a college to train engineers, plant operators, pipeline technicians, and other people,” said Devey.

That was in a time when people knew very little about alternating power, he said.

“They were training engineers as they went. It was one of only two schools in the United States that had an electrical engineering college,” said Devey.

Engineers learned in the classroom, and applyied that knowledge in the plant.

The institute was operational until 1912. Officials said the old plant will be turned into a museum of hydroelectric power.

Rehabilitation of the old plant would have cost more than building the new plant, for a total of $42 million.

Owned by the federal government and operated by Central Utah Water Conservancy District, the plant distributes the water to the Wasatch Front after it generates power.

New Plant Powers 3,000 Homes at Double Efficiency

The new Olmsted Power Plant will generate 11 1/2 MW, enough energy to supply power for 3,000 homes over a year.

“The old power plant generated about the same amount of power using four turbines. This will generate the same amount of power using two turbines. So twice as efficient,” said K.C. Shaw, chief engineer for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

Engineers designed the new plant to emit few to no pollutants, because hydropower is a renewable power source. That saves seven or eight large truckloads of coal each day, Dewey said.

“(It’s) huge for the environment to be able to have hydropower,” he said.

When we flip a light switch today, many of us are using power generated from the new Olmsted Plant. The museum at the old plant will be opened in the next couple of years.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

PeeDee, the puppy found by Price City police officers and is being trained as a Critical Incident E...

Michael Houck

Abandoned puppy undergoes training as a Price City emotional support dog

An abandoned puppy found by a Price City police officer is now being trained as an emotional support dog for the department.

8 minutes ago

An undated photo of the Gunlock State Park waterfalls. The waterfalls are expected to return this s...

Eliza Pace

Gunlock waterfalls are flowing again

Like an oasis in the desert, the Gunlock waterfalls have returned. 

15 minutes ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Eliza Pace

Got tumbleweeds? People might be willing to buy them

Several cities around Utah faced an Armageddon of tumbleweeds including Eagle Mountain, Daybreak, South Jordan, and Grantsville.  However, despite the challenge, residents of these cities may be sitting on their next business opportunity. 

2 hours ago

FILE: The sun is seen in full eclipse over a park on Aug. 21, 2017, in Hiawatha, Kansas. Millions o...

Josh Ellis

Utahns will have to travel to catch the best part of April’s total solar eclipse

2023's eclipse gave thousands of Utahns a chance to see its "ring of fire," but the 2024 total solar eclipse will require some travel to get the full experience.

3 hours ago

Several police SUVs parked in a parking lot as Salt Lake City Police investigate a workplace shooti...

Eliza Pace

Victim, gunman in SLC workplace shooting identified by police

Two men involved in a workplace shooting on Sunday in Salt Lake City were identified by police. 

6 hours ago

Elder Mack Jared Chappell, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Sa...

Mark Jones

Church missionary dies from unknown medical condition

A missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has died, according to the church.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

New Olmsted Power Plant, Museum Opening At Provo River