Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ludington Reservoir - Very Cool

This past weekend I went on an interesting excursion with Wife and Mom and Stepdad. On the way back from camping (yes, I went camping AGAIN, and loved it...) we visited the Ludington Reservoir - a place that I never even knew existed. Basically, it's an elevated, man-made 2 mile x 1 mile lake that is used to generate electricity in a fiscally responsible (and therefore very lucrative manner).

Most people (I think) know that during the day, electricity costs more because there is a higher demand for it. People use more electricity during the day, so the electric company can charge more for it. Usually, the electric company likes to not run out of electricity. This means they usually generate more electricity than they will dispense to consumers in a day. THIS means they have some left at the end of the day that they cannot always store effectively.

To solve this issue, the local power company (Consumers Energy) decided to store that electric energy into gravitational hydroelectric potential energy. What does this mean? It means they use their leftover electricity at the end of a day to pump a crazy amount of water from Lake Michigan uphill to fill a huge lake. During the day, that water is allowed to drain back to the lake through turbines (see above photo) that generate electricity. Doing this allows them to generate enough electricity to serve 1.4 million consumers each day.

We took a slight detour to visit this feat of engineering, and I wasn't disappointed. It was impressive. Click Here to read more about it, or if you're just interested in some fancy pictures, I've got those down below for you. Don't be afraid to interact with them...

The first is the view of the hill that holds the lake. Don't be deceived - it's a lot bigger than you can tell. It also shows the slope down to where the reservoir empties into Lake Michigan.

The second is the view from the visitors' area up at the top, at the edge of the enclosed lake. Visitors can't actually go near the edge of the reservoir, and this panorama was actually taken with my hand through the bars of the visitors' area. The reservoir is 13 stories deep, about 1/3 of which gets drained and refilled each day.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Somebody used their brain on that one. Nice.

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