Just a short drive from the glitter and glamour of Vegas, the amazing Hoover Dam is a testimony to a country's ability to construct monolithic projects in the midst of adverse conditions. Built during the Great Depression between 1931 and 1935, thousands of men and their families came to Black Canyon to tame the Colorado River. It took less than 5 years to build the largest dam of its time.
Now, 82 years later, Hoover Dam still stands as a world-renowned structure. Hoover Dam is a National Historic Landmark and has been called one of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World. This engineering marvel not only enabled the industrial development of the Pacific Southwest, but it also forms Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the Western Hemisphere. History comes to life as you tour the interior of this 72-story structure, see its power plant, and view some fascinating exhibits.
Before your guided tour of Hoover Dam, you will have a short presentation on how the west was won with water and give you some background history on the building of the magnificent Hoover Dam. Next, your guide will take you over 500’ down one of our enormous elevators to the Nevada wing of the power plant, where you overlook the massive 7-story tall generators. Then, on into the adit where you are standing on the top of a giant 30-foot pipe, feeling the rush and hearing the rumble as the water races through them.
From there you will go on your own out to the Observation Deck on top of the Tour Center, where you can view the river flow, the lake and the massive expanse of the Hoover Dam or stay inside and check out our new interactive exhibit displays.
Next, it’s across the street and on to the Winged Figures of the Republic, where you will learn about the bronze statues and the amazing star map that is inlaid into Terrazzo tile at the base of the 142 foot tall flag pole.
After that, on to the Old Exhibit building; built in the 1940’s and used to house the soldiers during World War II, it has an expansive topographical map showing the entire length of the Colorado River as it winds its way from Wyoming down into Mexico.
The Intake Tower presentation is the final stop on the tour is the center of the dam, where an automated presentation will explain how the water gets from the lake, past the dam, through the generators and carries on its way downstream. You will also learn of the beautiful Art Deco, the style of the 1930’s in which the dam was modeled, you expect to see Captain Marvel jettisoning out with his rocket ship at any moment!
HOOVER DAM POWER FACTS
The dam and powerplant is operated and maintained by the US Bureau of Reclamation. There are 17 main turbines in the powerplant. The original turbines were all replaced during an upgrade program between 1986 and 1993. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 2,074,000 kilowatts. The power generation part of the plant was completed in 1961. There are fifteen 178000 HP, one 100000 HP, and one 86000 HP Francis-type vertical hydraulic turbines. There are thirteen 130000 kW, two 127 kW, one 61500 kW, and one 68500 kW generators. All machines are operated at 60 cycles. There are also two 2400 kW station-service units driven by Pelton water wheels. These provide electrical energy for lights and for operating cranes, pumps, motors, compressors, and other electrical equipment within the dam, the powerplant and visitor center.
Please note: You will arrive inside the Visitor Center 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled tour time as the attendees will need to pass through security. It is recommended that attendees bring bottled water, but no other food or drinks are permitted inside the Visitor Center. The Power Plant tour is not a recommended tour for those with pacemakers or claustrophobia. No weapons, including pocket knives, are allowed inside the Visitor Center. Photography is allowed on this tour.
This tour will include a brief presentation and safety guidance information plus a walk-about tour of the Walter M. Higgins Generating Station. The bus will leave at approximately 10:15 – 10:30 AM to drive to nearby Goodsprings Energy Recovery Station. Attendees will remain on the bus and there will be a narrative and Q&A with one of NV Energy’s experts.
The Walter M. Higgins Generating Station is a clean-burning natural gas-fueled power plant located in Southern Nevada near the California border. The plant utilizes two highly efficient Siemens-Westinghouse 501FD2 combustion turbines to produce electricity. Additionally, the exhaust from the two turbines is recycled to produce steam for an Alstom STF30C steam turbine to make additional electricity for NV Energy customers. The plant went into service in 2004. Unlike conventional power plants that use substantial amounts of water for cooling, the Higgins Station uses a six-story-high dry cooling system. Similar to a car radiator, 40 massive fans (34 feet in diameter) are used to condense the steam and cool plant equipment.
The Goodsprings Energy Recovery Station achieved commercial operation in 2010 and uses hot exhaust from a neighboring natural gas compressor station to generate electricity. The hot exhaust heats a thermal oil transfer fluid at the compressor station, which is then circulated to the Goodsprings power plant equipment and is utilized to vaporize an organic working fluid into a gas. The expansion force of this gas drives a small turbine generator to make electricity. This creative renewable energy approach to making use of such waste heat is the first in Nevada. In the normal operation of the Kern River Gas Transmission Co. compressor station – which primarily is used to move natural gas through Nevada to California – some waste heat is released to the atmosphere. This thermal energy is captured and converted to electricity in much the same way that some geothermal energy power plants capture heat from hot water deep below the earth’s surface. Because of its similarity to geothermal energy, Nevada-based Ormat Technologies was the technologies provider and constructed the facility.
PLEASE NOTE: Required clothing: long pants (no shorts), sturdy shoes (no flip flops or high heels). Security will search the bus and luggage wells, etc., a few hundred feet from the facility and then escort the bus onto the site. You may bring backpacks or bags, but they will need to be left on the bus. Photography is allowed.