The way it was, back then

I toured an old hydro plant before it was modernized.
Completely manual control.
One operator on duty.
While I was there one generator was running at 10% load.
The phone rang.
The load dispatch center with an order to go to 90% load.
The gate was controlled by a shaft exiting the turbine housing.
On the end of the shaft there was a large bell-crank.
A hydraulic cylinder was connected to the bell crank.
There was a small enclosed water turbine driving a hydraulic pump.
The operator directed water to the water turbine and then went to a control switch.
Three positions; Extend cylinder, off, retract cylinder.
He started to extend the cylinder while watching the Power Factor Meter.
As the power factor started lagging he went to the field control rheostat and increased the excitation.
No AVR, just a maually controlled rheostat.
Then he went back and continued to open the flow gate.
Back to the field control.
It was a long time ago but as I remember it took 4 or 5 iterations to bring the set up to 90% output.
A few years later the plant was completely automated and was remotely controlled with no local operator on duty.
The powerhouse was once British Columbia’s largest hydroelectric power source and is a National Historic Site of Canada.
They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.
It is now a visitor center with more staff on duty than when it was a working powerhouse
Wiki Stave Falls Powerhouse
More Pictures
Here you can see the hand brake to hold the rotor stationary in the event of water leakage when a unit is shut down.
Governors, we don’t need no stinkin’ governors!
I don’t think that these had governors.
Then they would have needed AVRs as well.
The school bus crossed the dam above the power house on the way to school each day.


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From my post on ET:

Numerous smaller hydro plants owned by Ontario Hydro had been built with governors, but as the system grew to Brobdingnagian scale these little puppies no longer held the frequency-anchoring status they had in times past, and when the governors were worn out - - or when the stations were automated and there were no longer operators to see to the balancing of the governors’ hydraulic accumulators, etc., - - they were often replaced with DC motor driven actuators powered with truck batteries; inexpensive, provided secure shutdown capabilities, and didn’t take the governor maintenance and adjustment experience that was lost when all the old guys retired.

Big Chute Generating Station was rebuilt from four horizontal units to one 10 MW inclined-tube unit; two of the old ones, along with the operating floor surrounding them, were not demolished but turned into outdoor museum-type displays that visitors can walk around and inspect hands on, as there are placards but no tour guides. The units are of course suffering from exposure to the weather. The pics of Stave Falls reminded me of how Big Chute used to look back in the day; I never operated it, but I had keys and could take family members on tours provided I called in to the control centre upon arrival and departure [ in the pic at this link,-79.6749152,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1sAF1QipOM2PIA8lOJChxUAcsB2JHPZ3p1T27vGSw5CWSA!2e10!3e12!!7i2048!8i1366

to the right of the new generating station one can see just a bit of the static outdoor display, still painted in Ontario Hydro’s official equipment colours.

To the best of my knowledge, Auburn GS in Peterborough, Ontario, which consists of three 600 kW horizontal shaft generators, still uses the gate actuators that were installed when the station was automated and its governors removed.

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The Stave Falls Dam and Powerhouse is part of a three dam system.
Note the difference between Stave FALLS and Stave LAKE.
The Stave Falls dam and power house was first built around 1911 to 1912.
Originally with two turbines, later expanded to four turbines.
Alouette Lake Hydro-Electric dam was constructed at around 1924 to 1928 and has no powerhouse.
The power house is about 10 miles away on the shore of Stave Lake. A tunnel of approximately 1 km length connects Alouette Lake with the 9 MW power house.
By this time the Stave Falls Powerhouse had been expanded to four turbines.
The additional flow from the Alouette Lake facility allowed for the installation of a fifth turbine at the Stave Falls Powerhouse.

[Google Map],-122.4021837,31162m/data=!3m1!1e3/
In about 1930 the Ruskin Dam was built about 3 miles below the Stave Falls dam.
This created Hayward Lake.

Wiki Summary of the System:
Alouette-Stave Falls-Ruskin Hydroelectric Complex. Upstream of the dam is the Stave Falls Dam and Powerhouse which has an installed capacity of 90 MW. Supplementing Stave Lake is small amount of water from Alouette Lake which is created by the Alouette Dam in northern Maple Ridge via 1,067 m (3,501 ft) long tunnel connecting intakes at the northern end of Alouette Lake and Stave Lake. At the end of the tunnel is a penstock which feeds the 8 MW Alouette Powerhouse on the western shore of Stave Lake approximately 8 km north of Stave Dam. Water released from Stave Falls Dam flows into Hayward Lake and is used by the Ruskin Dam for power generation.[11])