The South Pole Rural Electric Association

one idea for an interim Pole power plant
An interim Pole power plant structure that...didn't work.

This project had been created by the ITT/ANS engineering manager Mickey Finn starting in 1985-86...three prefabbed timber modules housing two D342 Caterpillar engine generators. The idea was to provide additional power as the station generators weren't able to keep up with the increasing load. I didn't find out about this until after I arrived at Pole on Christmas Eve 1986. In my photo here, the load bank was being set up to test these units...of unknown vintage or rehab status. Nominally these were good for 150kw at sea level, which Palmer Station was at...but Pole was not at. I don't remember the load test results, but the old 353 generators in the dome power plant were good for we had the capability to backfeed a bit of power from the summer camp power plant to the station in case of emergency... something first devised and implemented by me, Jim Mathews, and Pat Haggerty in 1976-77. This had no design for switchgear or a connection to the main station...the ceiling was too low so there was fear that the plywood might catch fire, and ventilation was poor. After the load test, the generators were never used again, and I eventually convinced the Pole station management (Bob Hurtig/Steve Marvin/Art Brown) that the . The building, which would later be known as "Mickey's Folly" was used for berthing for a time...and even later, two of the 3 modules were used to create the Cheese Palace and the third module was used as an addition to the summer camp gym/weight room.