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1.21 Gigawatts from Bonneville Dam

It can't be a coincidence that this hydroelectric dam produces exactly the right 1.21 gigawatts of power for "Back to the Future" time travel.

Dan Carney

August 14, 2023

1 Min Read
A DeLorean on display outside the "Back To The Future: The Musical" gala performance at Winter Garden Theatre on July 25, 2023 in New York City.Bruce Glikas/WireImage via Getty Images

When Doc Brown actor Christopher Lloyd unleashed the internet with a Tweet telling fans, "1.21 Gigawatts. Say it back,", the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded with the observation that the Corps' dam on the Oregon-Washington border actually produces exactly that much power, just enough to send the Back to the Future DeLorean traveling through time.

They helpfully explain that the plant's two powerhouses combine to produce 1.218 megawatts of power, or 1.21 gigawatts.

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Fans will recall that when Marty McFly's trip to 1955 depleted his time machine's on-board plutonium supply, Doc Brown explained that the car would need a jolt of 1.21 gigawatts of power for him to return to his original time. The pair improvised a solution employing a lightning strike to energize the car's time travel machine and send Marty back to his own time. Next time they can just head to the Bonneville Dam power station to get the necessary energy.


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