A tour of Big Valley Power L.L.C.

From a tour of the power plant taken February 28, 2005.

Story and pictures copyright 2005 by BigValleyNews.net

This is a short tour of the Big Valley Power Company L.L.C. power plant located on Highway 299 between Bieber CA. and Adin CA.

Away from the main power plant is a long low concrete structure where trucks can drive to and unload.

This is where it starts:

Trucks haul in the fuel (wood chips) and unload here.

What looks like a big sand pile is actually a pile of wood chips.  The man standing in front of the pile shows it is about twice his height, but will grow.

A pile of wood chips in storage:

A large pile of chips is in the outdoor storage pile. This pile will grow larger as more fuel is brought in.

A handful of wood chips shows a mix of wood chips about 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in size mixed with small cut up tree branches, some of which still have green on them.

What the raw fuel looks like:

The fuel consists of from two primary areas overstocked with stands of conifer timber ripe for a conflagrationá (fire) and from juniper stands. The product is ground up in the forest and loaded onto trucks. When Big Valley Power receives the fuel, it looks like this.

A conveyor belt starts from near the fuel storage area on the left and goes up to one of the round boiler feed towers in the background.  A large open building shelters sawdust from the elements and a pile of chips is building up below the conveyor as chips are released to the ground.

Chip and sawdust preparation area:

The boilers take a mix of sawdust and chips. Wheeled loaders and conveyor belts are used to move the fuel to this area which is near the entry to the boilers. Some processing, i.e. drying, sorting, mixing etc. take place here.

A cubical 2 story metal building which houses the boilers and generator is next to two cylindrical (grain elevator style) towers which store the chips and sawdust for the boilers.

This is the main building of the power plant:

The cubical building on the left is where the boilers and generator are located, the boilers below, and the generator above on the second floor. The conveyor belt loads chips into the round boiler feed on the right, and a long thin tube feeds blown sawdust into the left boiler feed.

A low structure with two large diameter short stacks is the cooling tower for the water .

The cooling tower:

The steam turbine of the generator uses water but the steam is recycled to the cooling towers and reused. Some water escapes to the air. Anything you may see coming from these towers is water vapor, or steam!

A view of the generator in the generator room.  The man standing next to it, Brad Seaberg, gives an idea of it's size.  It stands over 6 ft tall in the room and the mechanism is on it's side,  The turbine section is on the right and the electrical section to the left.  The entire thing is about 20 ft. long and is painted a beautiful spotless blue.

The blue object is the generator. (Just thought I'd clarify that!):

The larger squared off housing toward the front is the steam turbine. The other end is the actual generator.

The control panel, typical industrial grey is what controls the facility. Lots of classic round volt and ammeters, some big circuit brekers a chart recorder and a bunch of lit annunciators grace the panel.

The control panel for the generator:

This is what it takes to monitor the power plant operation.

There is a pedistal to the left of the transformer with tall insulators and circuit breakers free in the air.  The transformer, not much larger than a few Volkswagon stands to the right.  Of course it is behind a chain link fence with barbed wire on top.

This is where it all ends, at least for Big Valley Power.

This is the "shipping department", the transformer that connects to the electric grid.

The boss, a cleancut, efficient striped cat lies in an office chair. Awake and alert!

C-Clamp in the bosses chair.

The other boss, also hard at work in an office chair, a nice striper with a patch of white on his side.

Partsroom also in the executive office.

During my tour I noticed that the two real bosses were making sure all the employees were hard at work, earning their pay. These two were busy making sure time is not wasted. As we all know, all cats are experienced at generating static electricity, these 2 are experts at generating power electricity!