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Elephant Butte Powerplant

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Related Projects & Facilities
Rio Grande Project
Elephant Butte Dam
Related Documents
Elephant Butte Powerplant Performance (pdf)
RegionFacilities in Upper Colorado | Upper Colorado Home Page
StateNew Mexico
County Truth or Consequences
RiverRio Grande River
PurposeGeneration of hydroelectric power for the project.
FactsElephant Butte Dam can store 2,065,010 acre-feet of water to provide irrigation and year-round power generation. A court order has restricted power generation during non-irrigation months. This is a concrete gravity dam 301 feet high and 1,674 feet long, including the spillway. It contains 618,785 cubic yards of concrete. The dam was completed in 1916, but storage operation began in 1915.
FactsThe power system consists of a 27,945-kilowatt hydroelectric powerplant at Elephant Butte Dam.
HistoryA system consisting of 490 miles of 115-kilovolt transmission line and 11 substations totaling 81,750 kilovolt-amperes was developed and operated by the Rio Grande Project until 1977. It was subsequently sold to a private electric company.
Present ActivitiesConverting Mechanical Governors to Electronic.
Future Planned ActivitiesReplace runner turbines, replace penstock gate operators.
Special IssuesCosts for Elephant Butte Powerplant were not available to be broken down into smaller elements.
NERC RegionWestern Electricity Coordinating Council, Rocky Mountain Power Area
PMA Service AreaWestern Area Power Administration, Colorado River Storage Project Management Center
Plant TypeConventional
Powerhouse TypeAbove Ground
Turbine TypeFrancis
Original Nameplate Capacity24,300 kW
Installed Capacity27,945 kW
Year of Initial Operation1940
Age67 years
Net Generation56,003,456 kWh
(Fiscal Year)2007
Rated Head140 ft
Plant Factor23.2 percent (annual)
(Fiscal Year)2007
Production ModeBase Load
Remotely OperatedNo
Project Authorizationhe Secretary of the Interior authorized the Rio Grande Project on December 2, 1905, under the provision of the Reclamation Act, and funds were allocated to initiate construction of the first diversion unit. The Reclamation Act was extended to the entire State of Texas on June 12, 1906, following a partial extension for Engle (Elephant Butte) Dam in 1905.
Project AuthorizationCongress authorized the construction of Elephant Butte Dam on February 25, 1905, and on May 4, 1907, $1 million of nonreimbursable funds were appropriated as the State Department`s share for allocation of 60,000 acre-feet of water annually to Mexico by treaty. Additional project works authorized under congressional action include Caballo Dam, a combined flood control and power regulating structure and the Elephant Butte power development.
Project PurposeThe Rio Grande Project furnishes a full irrigation water supply for about 178,000 acres of land and electric power for communities and industries in the area. Drainage water from project lands provides a supplemental supply for 18,000 acres in Hudspeth County, Texas. Project lands occupy the river bottom land of the Rio Grande Valley in south-central New Mexico and west Texas.
First nameJames
Last namePowell
Phone (Fax)505 894-3651
Phone (Individual)505 894-6661

Last updated: May 13, 2009