The Hoover Dam’s Super Power

Date: June 3, 2017
Category: Blog

The Hoover Dam has long been recognized as a modern marvel. Photographer Ansel Adams famously captured the dam’s magnificence in 1942. Since then countless artists have captured its image, and about 7 million visitors line up each year to snap a selfie or Instagram picture. The Federal Highway Administration even named Hoover Dam one of America’s Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century.

At Black Canyon River Adventures, our river raft tours offer a one-of-a-kind view of Hoover Dam from below. One of the common questions that visitors have involves the power that the facility generates. Just how much hydroelectric power does Hoover Dam make? On average, approximately 4 billion kilowatt-hours annually.

To put that in perspective, an electric heater uses about one kilowatt-hour of energy for every hour it runs. That means Hoover Dam could power a single electric heater for more than 114,000 years! To book your adventure and see the awesome power of the Hoover Dam in action, contact us today.

How it’s done:

​Intake – The water from Lake Mead flows in to the intake and travels to the Powerhouse through a channel called the Penstock. The Hoover Dam has four penstocks.

Powerhouse – The Powerhouse is the “guts” of the Hoover Dam. Here, massive equipment converts water energy to usable electrical energy. The Hoover Dam’s power plant has 2 wings (Arizona and Nevada) spanning a total of 10 acres.

Turbine – The Hoover Dam Power Plant has 17 Francis turbines. The dam’s turbine engines rotate like spinning fans, converting water energy into mechanical energy. The Hoover Dam’s turbine engines have a capacity of 2,998,000 horsepower.

Generator: The generator converts each turbine’s mechanical energy into electrical energy. How?
·      Water moves the blades of the turbines
·      The turbines turn the rotor, which is a group of magnets
·      The magnets rotate past copper wires, creating a magnetic field
·      The magnetic field generates electricity
·      The electricity is stored by the generator for later use