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, 1941.
"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 reservoir. 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.