Engineers Honor North America's First Pumped Storage Generators at Taum Sauk

A PR Report says The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) presented AmerenUE’s Taum Sauk pumped-storage hydroelectric plant its prestigious “Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing” award.

At a special ceremony at the Taum Sauk Plant in Reynolds County, Mo., AmerenUE also announced a gift of $1,000 to Lesterville R-4 School. The school serves the area surrounding the plant.

The IEEE award acknowledges Taum Sauk for its many technological and engineering “firsts,” including:

— being the largest pumped-storage plant in North America when it came
on-line in 1963
— its high-capacity turbine generators
— its ability to be operated by “remote control” from St. Louis, Mo. —
more than 90 miles away

“The IEEE’s Milestones Program helps to inspire engineers and those
interested in science and technology to continue working for a world in which
everyone benefits from technological advances,” said IEEE Region 5 Director
John Meredith.

“The Taum Sauk Plant and the technological accomplishments that make it
work inspire us to share our knowledge and to bring the benefits of our
efforts to all,” he added.

With the award, Taum Sauk Plant joins an elite and historic group of IEEE
Milestone facilities. The nearly 70 sites and achievements that have received
this recognition over the past 22 years include the Ames Hydroelectric Plant
in Telluride, Colo.; the first wireless transmission across the Atlantic Ocean
from Signal Hill, Newfoundland, Canada, on Dec. 12, 1901; and the Opana RADAR
Site, from which the first use of RADAR in wartime conditions began on Dec. 7,

“Taum Sauk has not only contributed to the development of electrical and
computer engineering and science, but the plant and its employees have been
active in economic and community development,” said Ameren Executive Vice
President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Voss.

“This plant is a source of significant local tax revenue and a facility
that is critical to meeting daily peaking power demands of the citizens of
this state and region,” Voss added.

“It is truly humbling to be listed alongside the facilities and projects
on the IEEE Milestones list,” said Taum Sauk Plant Superintendent Rick Cooper.
“This is a proud day for our employees and for everyone in Reynolds County.”

Of the $1,000 total given to Lesterville R-4 School, $500 will be split
between School Librarian Dana Myers and English/Shop Teacher James Watts. The
remaining funds will be presented to Superintendent Earlene Fox for other
school needs.

Myers plans to use the funds to help set up an “outdoor classroom” — an
extension of the school library-accessible to both elementary and high school
students. Watts would like to purchase supplies needed to reinstate shop
classes at the school.

“It’s wonderful that Ameren has included Lesterville R-4 School as part of
its celebration of Taum Sauk Plant,” said Fox. “This generous contribution
will be put to good use and will benefit many children for years to come.”

The Taum Sauk plant includes four primary features: the upper reservoir
atop Proffit Mountain, a 7,000-foot-long shaft and tunnel, a power house with
two reversible pump turbine units and a lower reservoir formed by a dam across
the East Fork of the Black River.

During times of peak demand for electricity, water, released from the
upper reservoir, rushes down the shaft and through the tunnel. As it passes
through the power house, the water spins the turbines to generate electricity.
The water is then retained in the lower reservoir.

At night and on weekends, when power demand is lower, excess power
available from other plants is used to pump the water back to the upper

The plant is also unique because it can generate electricity even in the
absence of grid power-making it critical for re-starting the system in the
unlikely event of a wide-spread blackout.

The IEEE is a non-profit, technical professional association of more than
365,000 individual members in approximately 175 countries.

AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren
companies serve 2.2 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas
customers over a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.

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