A Joint IEEE Pikes Peak and Denver Life Member Affinity Group (LMAG) meeting was held on 14 September 2019 at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The event, attended by 14 Pikes Peak and seven Denver members, began at 12 p.m. in the General James E. Hill Conference Room. The room is named for General Hill, who was commander of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) and led the U.S. Space Command headquartered in Colorado Springs. He founded the Space Foundation on his retirement. Each member made a short presentation on their backgrounds while a box lunch was served.
Following lunch, Albert Schaffer, Pikes Peak IEEE Life Member, gave his presentation, “The Ames Power Station, First High Voltage Alternating Current Transmission Anywhere.” Schaffer told the story of the development of the Ames Power Station in Colorado, which became the first ac power transmission system on 19 June 1891. The system consisted of a hydropower station with an ac generator, which transmitted ac power 2.6 mi from Ames to the Gold King gold mill, where an ac motor powered its operation. This first demonstration of ac transmission required the cooperation of Lucian Nunn, a Telluride financier; Paul Nunn, an engineer; and George Westinghouse, an ac Power pioneer who licensed Nikola Tesla’s original ac power patents. The Ames Power Station was improved over several years with a second plant in 1895, a facility in nearby Illium in 1900, and a third plant in 1905. The final plant has operated almost continuously since that time at 3.6-MW power at 2.4 kV. An IEEE Plaque is mounted on the facility recognizing it as the first station to produce and transmit alternating current.
The IEEE sign at Ames Station.