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Utah hydroelectric plant reborn in Orem with $42M makeover

September 24, 2018

OREM, Utah (AP) — A Utah hydroelectric plant is ready to come back online after a $42 million makeover that took three years.

The Olmsted hydroelectric power plant has a new look and new turbines and will provide water and power to residents throughout several communities, including Orem and Provo, The Daily Herald reported .

Hundreds of workers, political leaders, stakeholders and residents travelled to the mouth of the Provo Canyon on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of the new Olmsted campus.

“This is the next level of engineering,” said Timothy R. Petty, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of Interior. “Hydropower is unique for communities. It represents a unique partnership between the federal government, the state and local (organizations) to really accomplish (what is needed) for the communities.”

The plant will offer clean, renewable and reliable energy for 100 years, said Steve Johnson of the Colorado River Project said.

The Olmsted plant is a “run of the river” plant, meaning that power is generated only when water demands from downstream users require water deliveries.

The makeover was paid for by the federal government and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

Historically, the project is a part of the Central Utah Project that was started in the 1950s to harness water for much of the Southwest. Olmsted is fed by Jordanelle Reservoir that finished completion and was filled in 1996.

As part of the new buildout on the Olmsted campus, there is a new museum housed in the old facility with photos of the old campus that was shut down in 2015.

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