This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dam that's near

A few weeks ago I was in Monticello and stopped by to see the Norway Dam, the dam that creates Lake Shaffer. I thought I had found the parking lot for the dam when I saw this sign, but it is an access area that is below the bridge and the dam is not visible from it.
I should have continued up the road just a bit more to this parking area.
The public can get quite close to the river. The gentleman you see in this picture was fishing, but had not caught much. He was quite willing to talk, and told me that I should have been there a few weeks earlier when the river flow was much greater. Having gotten used to the tiny Iroquois, it looked like a lot of water to me, but he said that the water was turning only one of the generators. You can see the three flood gates in this picture.
Below is the generator building. NIPSCO has a web page with some basic info about the dam and the Oakdale dam a bit further south that creates Lake Freeman (the twin lakes). The Norway dam generates a maximum of 7.2 megawatts, while the Oakdale dam generates a maximum of 9.2, or a total of 16.4 megawatts. To put this in perspective, the coal-fired Schahfer plant near Wheatfield can generate 2201.3 megawatts. The Norway plant was put into service in 1923 when 7.2 megawatts would serve a lot more people than it serves today.
On the bridge over the Tippecanoe River that is below the dam, the USGS has a river gage. You can see what it reports here. Neither of the Monticello dams is meant for flood control; they try to match water leaving their reservoirs with the amount entering.

According to Wikipedia, Indiana has only six hydroelectric dams.

I kind of miss dams. For a number of years I lived about a half a mile from a small dam on the Mississippi River. The White House on Park Avenue recently had guests who were biking across the U.S. and blogging about it as they went, and I was quite excited to see a picture on their blog of the dam I once saw a lot of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like this dam adventure. They are fascinating.