Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant

Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant

The Ludington Pumped Storage Plant is a hydroelectric plant and reservoir in Ludington, Michigan. It was built between 1969 and 1973 at a cost of $315 million and is owned jointly by Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison and operated by Consumers Energy. At the time of its construction, it was the largest pumped storage hydroelectric facility in the world.


It consists of a reservoir 110 ft (34 m) deep, 2.5 miles (4 km) long, and one mile (1.6 km) wide which holds 27 billion US gallons (100 million m³) of water. The 1.3 mi² reservoir is located on the banks of Lake Michigan. With impervious bedrock more than 800 feet below, an asphalt and clay liner was built for the reservoir.

The power plant consists of six reversible turbines that can each generate 312 megawatts of electricity for a total output of 1872 megawatts. Water is delivered from the upper reservoir to the turbines by six penstocks each 1100 feet long that taper from 28 to 24 feet in diameter.

At night, during low demand for electricity, the turbines run in reverse to pump water 363 ft (110 m) uphill from Lake Michigan into the reservoir. The plant takes advantage of the natural steep sand dune landform of eastern Lake Michigan. During periods of peak demand water is released to generate power. Electrical generation can begin within 2 minutes with peak electric output of 1.8 million kilowatts achieved in under 30 minutes. Maximum water flow is over 33 million gallons per minute.

This process helps level the load of coal-fired power plants on the grid. It also replaces the need to build natural gas peak power plants used only during high demand.


This project was given the 1973 award for "Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement" by the American Society of Civil Engineers.Cite web
title=Past Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Awards
publisher=American Society of Civil Engineers


Consumers Energy discussed plans in 2008 to extend the life of the facility and upgrade the pumps to increase efficiency by up to 9%.Cite web
title=Shoreline generates interest in power
publisher=The Muskegon Chronicle
] Consumers Energy also planned to tap the wind power resources along the eastern Lake Michigan shore with wind farms. Because wind is an intermittent power source and may inconveniently deliver large amounts of power during periods of low electric demand, pumped storage facilities are desirable to have on the same grid with large-scale wind farms. The available pumped storage capacity, along with the wind characteristics, partly determine the maximum contribution wind power can make to the overall electricity use in a region.

ee also

*Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant - another large pumped-storage facility on the Great Lakes


External links

* [ Ludington Pumped Storage Plant]
* [ Ludington Pumped Storage Plant (Official Site)]

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