A button that would start water running over Twin Falls when observers are there to watch the water.
The water runs at specific times, regardless if observers are there or not. This water is not being used to generate power when running over the falls. We would like to increase the output potential of the power plant, while still granting access to watching the falls.
We have already talked with Idaho Power, and they have said the idea is feasible. Now we need to collect data to take to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) in order to change the regulation, making specific dates and times mandatory for running water over the falls (not just at Twin Falls), and allowing the POW button to make public viewing access on demand.
Do you know when
TFPP is open?
Have you ever seen
the falls at TFPP?
Would you rather visit
Twin Falls or
Would the POW
Button make you
more likely to visit?
Thank you to all who have filled out our survey. Here are a few answers to the questions that were asked.
Q: How much water would run over?
A: 300 CFS (cubic feet per second) of water. 1 CFS is equal to about 1 basketball. This is the standard amount of water that the government is already requiring to run when the falls are on.
Q: How long would it take to see the water after pressing the button?
A: The change of the water flow from the trailrace to the falls takes 10 minutes. Then the falls would run for 20 minutes after they are activated.
Q: Is a button really necessary and wouldn't that possibly have a negative impact on water usage? I assume it runs at certain times for a reason to conserve water, needed electricity, etc. or otherwise, why wouldn't it run constantly, which may happen with a button on a given day with several spectators?
A: Our Power on Water (POW) button does not impact water usage. The water is not leaving the river. When the button is activated, it is diverted from the power plant to go over the falls. Water going over the fall is already mandatory at specified times of the year, regardless of if people are watching the flow or not.
When the button isn't activated the water is going through the power plant and generating power. This will result in more power production because the water is going through the plant when visitors are not present. This is why we want to implement our button, to increase power production when visitors are not watching, but allow them to access any time of year instead of specified times.
It is possible that on some days with frequent spectators, the falls could run all day. However, the power plant would still generate more power on the other days when there are few to no visitors to the falls. Unlike the current mandated schedule that has the water flowing all summer and on holidays when there may be few to no spectators. there are few to no visitors to the falls. Unlike the current mandated schedule that has the water flowing all summer and on holidays when there may be few to no spectators.
Q: How often do you think people would push the to watch the falls? Have you factored this into your calculations?
A: We have asked Idaho Power for numbers on how many visitors they get on average, and what times they come. We do not currently have that information yet. Our numbers are showing a total loss of power potential. We will update this answer as we collect more data.
Q: I'm just wondering why this isn't something they currently do. Is there Rules against it currently?
A: Currently under the license agreement Idaho Power has with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), the water has to run at mandated times. In order to use the POW button, the license agreement with FERC needs to be changed. We are working with Idaho Power to do just that.
Q: How does the button affect power availability? Does it diminish the output of the power plant?
A: Our research and math show a loss of 2.4-4 megawatts of power generation during the mandated flow of water, going over the falls, in a year. Installing the POW button will increase the output potential because the water will be flowing into the plant when there are no observers. At the same time, it will still be available for people to come to see the water flowing.
Q: Is there a way to maintain updates on the project?
A: We will post updates on the status of our POW button on our website.
The Building Beasts met with Idaho Power again on February 8, 2023. Idaho Power has put POW through a cost-benefit analysis chart. This helped them determine POW would be a benefit to their customers. If Twin Falls didn't run for a day, during peak times, it would save their customers around $72,000.
Now they are taking POW to their legal team. The progress of POW depends on if Idaho Power has to open the license agreement with FERC to a full rework or amend it. The cost of doing a full license agreement negotiation could outweigh the benefits of POW at this time. The Building Beasts and Idaho Power are hoping they will allow an amendment.
In the last update (April 11, 2023), we received from Idaho Power, they informed us the POW button has been added to the 2024 budget. They hope to have it installed before April 1st, 2024.
This is our first attachment, the energy cell collector and bucket lift. It was too heavy for our medium motor.
We couldn't get the large motor before regionals, so we decided to try a passive cell collector.
Our final forklift configuration for Regionals. It is short enough to clear the missions, but still had the ability to bring home the rechargeable batter.
This passive cell collector was too long and unreliable. It also wasn't stable, as the forks could move in or out.
Testing the passive cell collector (image 6).
We had an issue with the energy cells from the solar farm getting under the lift. We added the gray biskets to block them and stabilize the forklift more.
Through further iterations, we added a second passive wheel, moved the color sensors back, and placed panels on the bottom. This gave us better stabilization and wire management.
These drop-in attachments, used for State, allowed us to save time on the field while scoring more points.
Used on Mission 8 Watch TV and 7 Wind Turbine
Used on Mission 2 Oil Rig & Mission 3 Energy Storage
Used to carry energy units across the field and dumps the energy units into Mission 3 Energy Storage
Used on Mission 10 Power Plant & Mission 11 Hydro Dam
Used on Mission 14
Used on Mission 10
Used on Mission 6 Hybrid Car, Mission
5 Smart Grid, Mission 4 Solar Farm, Mission 1 Innovation Project & Mission 13 Power-to-X
2021-2022 was our team's novice year. We used Scratch (drag and drop) code using the LEGO Spike Prime App.
For the 2022-2023 season, we decided to use Python code. It is text-based coding. We used laptops running Fedora, with VSCodium and the Spike Prime Extention. We then connected the laptop to a TV in our build room, so everyone could see what the current coder was doing.
We chose to use Python because it is easier to read our code. It allows us to use comments to mark the beginning of each mission and leave notes about what different lines of code are doing.
Before Worlds, our team switched from LEGO Python to Pybricks. It gives us features like our own custom menu, using our drive motors and attachment motor at the same time, plus being able to set the positive direction of a motor.
FIRST Championship (Worlds)
Innovation Project Award
Robot Design Award
Rising Star Award
April 19-22, 2023
Innovation Project Award
South Idaho State Champions Award
Countdown to Regionals
The Building Beasts are a 4-H team, thus a 501(c)(3). Checks can be made out to 53036 The Building Beasts, or you can use the button below.
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