Normal operations since completion in 1981.
The Congress authorized the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project under Public Law 87-590 (77 Stat. 393), signed by the President on August 16, 1962.
The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project is a multi-purpose transmountain diversion development in southeastern Colorado. It makes possible an average annual diversion of 69,200 acre-feet of surplus water from the Fryingpan River and other tributaries of the Roaring Fork River on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains to the Arkansas River on the eastern slope.
Generation of hydroelectric power for the project and supports peak capacity needs of the interconnected power system. The power plant was designed with modern architectural lines and is an all-concrete structure equivalent to a 14-story building, although most of the structure is below ground on the edge of Twin Lakes. The power generated at Mt. Elbert derives from water originally pumped from Twin Lakes, which acts as the Mt. Elbert afterbay, and also from supplemental water delivered from Turquoise Lake to the forebay. The generators are designed to operate as a 170,000-horsepower electric motor which drives the turbines in reverse, and pumps water back up to refill the forebay. This pumping mode normally will be used during the very early morning hours, when power demands are low and surplus low-rate power is received from other generating stations. This pump-back storage principle is advantageous since the generating units can be started quickly and adjustments of power output can be made rapidly to respond to varying patterns of daily and seasonal power demands. Normal operations since completion in 1981. SF6 Switchyard breakers (replace oil circuit breakers); replace Unit 1 exciter system; unit cooling water and plant water system replacements; Unit 2 transformer bushing replacement; Unit 1 transformer gasification testing; main control board upgrades. Plant generation restrictions are not on generator size, rather the restrictions on the penstocks.