Joint Pikes Peak and Denver IEEE Life Member Affinity Group Meeting


The Ames Hydro Power Plant: The First HV AC Transmission Anywhere

Al Schaffer, Retired PE

Pikes Peak Section Life Member

In 1888-90, the battle for the dominant form of electrical power was underway between Thomas Edison/GE and Nicolas Tesla/Westinghouse in New York. In Colorado, the Gold King Mine was going bankrupt powering its Gold Mill with steam fueled by wood hauled by donkeys. Lucian Nunn, Telluride banker & investor in the Gold King Mine & brother, Paul Nunn, an engineer convinced Westinghouse to become the first Hydro power plant using AC generator, AC transmission line, and AC generators to operate the Gold King Mine operations. This presentation tells the story this first design, how equipment was delivered to Mine by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, how the facility was built and 3KV transmission was run for 2.6 miles to the Gold Mill. After several iterations, the current Ames Power Plant has been operational since 1905 generating 3.6 MW of power.

  Date and Time




  • US Space Foundation Discovery Center
  • 4425 Arrowswest Drive
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • United States 80907
  • Room Number: General James E Hill Conference Room
  • 719-661-7889

  • Co-sponsored by Jim Sipes
  • Starts 12 August 2019 12:00 PM
  • Ends 11 September 2019 12:00 PM
  • All times are US/Mountain
  • No Admission Charge
  • Menu: Panera Mediterrean Veggie Sandwich Box, Panera Tuna Salad Sandwich Box, Panera Turkey Sandwich Box, Sierra Turkey Sandwich Box, Heritage Ham & Swiss Sandwich Box, Napa Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich Box
  • Register


Al Schaffer, Retired PE

Al Schaffer, Retired PE of Pikes Peak IEEE LMAG


Al Schaffer holds a BS Physics, MSEE, and MS CS. He worked for Battelle Memorial Institute, Collins Radio, NCR, Digital Equipment Corporation, and HP/Agilient. He is a retired Professional Engineer (Ohio & Colorado).


Box Lunches & Drinks Provided By the Sections

Introductions By Each Attendee

Presentation by Al Schaffer, Pikes Peak Section

Option Tour of Space Foundation Discovery Center Following Meeting ($7.50 admission fee)

About the Discovery Center

The Space Foundation Discovery Center is the region's first and only dedicated space, science and technology center.