Friday, August 12, 2022
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MendoThrowback: Potter Valley Power House Upgrade Will Cost $300,000 and Employ Two-Hundred Men


Combing newspaper archives, MendoFever will work hard to provide a MendoThrowback every day of the calendar year to remind residents of days long gone. 

Today’s MendoThrowback is timely. As the future of Mendocino County’s Potter Valley Project is in question, ninety years ago today The Redwood Daily Journal announced in their February 5, 1932 issue Pacific Gas and Electric would be spending nearly $300,000 to upgrade the Potter Valley Project’s hydraulic turbines dramatically increasing the power plant’s efficiency.

Over six months, starting in the summer of 1932, workers would install an 8,500 horsepower hydraulic turbine and a new generator replacing two 2,500 horsepower generators designed in 1909. The powerhouse would also get a new interior layout including “new circuit breakers, switchboard, and related equipment.

The powerhouse’s four electric generators had an installed capacity of 12,750 horsepower and the modern equipment was expected to bring the installed capacity up to 16,750 horsepower.

Maintaining the same volume of water passing through the powerhouse, the new equipment was predicted to increase the generating equipment efficiency from 46% to 85%. 

The Potter Valley Powerhouse became PG&E’s property in 1929 after acquiring it from Snow Mountain Power Company. Foreseeing an increase in demand, PG&E engineers started a study to improve the property’s productivity to meet increasing demand.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Picking Brains—Baring Bones—Playing it By Ear: I'm a reporter in Mendocino County and the Founder of MendoFever.

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