Big Valley Power Generating Electricity

A view of the plant main building showing just a wisp....

Steam is being vented from the pipe, but no smoke!

What's happening?

Big Valley California, May 16, 2005
Copyright 2005

Big Valley residents may have noticed smoke coming from the stack at Big Valley Power L.L.C.  and wondered what's going on.  Today during a plant visit, as I walked close to the plant I could hear the hum of machinery and noticed water dripping in the cooling towers.  Inside the plant, the generator is spinning and making electricity, but no smoke coming out of the stack, Why?

The smoke we saw last week, (less than I saw from trash piles during Bieber Cleanup, but still visible) was a result of starting the boiler fires going.  The plant had not been up and running for several years and getting the complex system going slowly (safely) and the fact that the boiler fires were started with wood chips dampened by the rain, made the startup generate enough smoke that Valley residents noticed something happening.

Now that everything is up to temperature and burning properly, I could see nothing coming out of the stack even when looking closely.

As of Saturday, May 14, the generator was spinning and some last minute maintenance was taking place.  Both cats (C-clamp and Partsroom) were running around the generator room helping engineers with their last minute tasks.  It's a bit noisy there, but surprisingly very little vibration.  The place is quite warm because of the large boilers next door.

Not only is the generator spinning, but all plant power is being generated at the site.  The only thing awaiting is P.G and E approval to go on line, and as of this writing, it could happen any minute.  I'll let you know what happens as I find out.

Glen Zane, the operator of the plant states that the fire damaged conveyor system is now being repaired in Redding and is expected to back in service in June.  Operations will be able to proceed using a loader vehicle and backup systems already at the plant.  Glen expects that the plant will be connected to the electric grid and supplying power to P.G. and E within a day or so.

Cat on a desk wearing his required hardhat.

Boss cat at the office keeping the boys busy.

To read previous items about Big Valley Power: