Yellowstone Hydro Retirement  – Moon Lake Electric Association


It would have probably been a lot tougher for Moon Lake to be in the position that they are now without the Yellowstone Hydro. I think we have to basically go back to when Moon Lake was first organized. We signed a contract with Uintah Power and Light to provide power to the few homes we had connected at the time I don’t think that there has ever been a people that has had such a need for anything in their life as those early fokes did when the power come. They needed it so bad they really didn’t realize they needed it, but they did. We started with building of the Yellowstone Hydro and that project was completed and the first unit went online in 1941. That became Moon Lake’s first owned generator. Everybody went out and stood on their porches and at 6 o’clock they turned the power on. And it just lit up the whole basin. And I know with our family nobody ever said anything, we just cried. That was the greatest invention that you could ever think of to see those lights go on out here in the sage brush. Things started to flourish People started to where they was only milking maybe a dozen cows by hand they started milking 20 or 25 and everything expand and just went better, and it made such a difference in the country. I don’t think anybody ever realized what a difference it made. Till we looked back and see how much our country changed when the power came. That small hydro was the heart of Moon Lake’s generation and has been a mainstay. It’s operated for the last 77 years. and takes a full time operator to oversee the the production there. And so we have to maintain a pretty much a 24/7 oversight of the project to make sure that there is not a serious problems as a result of maintenance. Yeah I came in 1981, October of 81, so I have been here like 36 years. When I came up I was only going to spend the winter I thought it would be a great place to spend the winter, do a little trapping and hunting. And it is such a unique job that that I couldn’t go back to the oil field. This was kind of heaven when I got up here. After you are around something like this old girl, for 36 years, you wake up in your sleep when something like just a motor changes. You’re so attuned with it and you know if it’s running right. It’s kind of interesting how this becomes second nature. kinda part of your soul. This damn has been in service and the project for close to 80 years. It has been a great source of power for our members. Was just a very welcome source of energy when the damn was first installed In 1978 Deseret Power was formed. and started building the Bonanza Power Station in 1980 Which came online, was commissioned, and came online in 1985 and provided much of Moon Lake’s generating resource. Which by large negated the need for the small hydro. I was asked to be the first president of Deseret G&T. It took us about 11 years to build that plant. And to get it on line but I never thought I’d ever be involved in anything that immense. And to have such a load on your shoulders, finally the day came when we revealed that plant. And I knew after that that someday the Yellowstone Hydro would be a thing of the past. The pen-stock again is 77 years old and it has numerous leaks. In some places the pen-stock is a fraction of the original thickness which gives us a great deal of problems in repairing in order to even weld on the pipeline. Units right now at they stand are about twice the cost of a power that we can produce by other means. We owe it to our membership to maintain as an efficient as operation as we possible can and it’s hard to justify the expenses associated with operating that small unit when we can generate the power that we need at a much much lower price. They had been discussing the decommissioning of the Yellowstone Hydro for several months before I came on the board and it has been that difficult decision and to see that decommissioned or gone is tough. You know I remember going up to the Hydro as a kid and fishing in the pond. I think it needs to remain intact there at least at the generators there to stand as a monument to the man who had the insight to start Moon Lake. We recognize that the Hydro is a part of our original heritage and it’s our intent to leave it in place, the generating station and the small home that is near it with the generating units themselves. Yeah it’s just severed us really well you know we have got a lot of mileage out of this old girl just keep it here and let people come and look at it and see where we started from. I just always had a reverence for that little power plant up there and I think Moon Lake today should really be congratulated for the job they do. Which made this basin a really a lot better place to live in and something to be proud of here I think.




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