Pumped-Storage Plants in the USA
Bad Creek
Location: SC
Operator: Duke Energy Carolinas
Configuration: 4 X 266 MW FPT
Operation: 1991
T/G supplier: Voith, GE
EPC: HDR, Duke Power
Quick facts: Bad Creek is in Oconee County and is the largest hydroelectric station on the Duke Energy system. It is named for the two streams, Bad Creek and West Bad Creek, which were dammed to create the Bad Creek reservoir. The lower reservoir is Lake Jocassee at elevation 1,110ft. A 375ac upper reservoir at elevation 2,130ft connects to an underground powerhouse through a 1mi long, 30ft diameter tunnel bored through mountain bedrock. The Bad Creek site provides a trailhead for the 80mi Foothills Trail. Duke provides a parking area and built a half-mile spur trail.

Photograph courtesy of Duke Power
Posted 4 Aug 2010

Bath County
Location: VA
Operator: Dominion Virginia Power
Configuration: 6 X 462 MW FPT
Operation: 1985
T/G supplier: AC, Siemens
EPC: Harza, Fluor, Gates & Fox
Quick facts: Bath County is jointly owned by Dominion (60%) and Allegheny Power (40%). It cost $1.7bn. The facility consists of two reservoirs, one 1,262ft higher than the other, a power house and the tunnels that connect them. At full load, as much as 14.5mn gallons per minute falls through the turbine-generators. The electromechanical equipment has been extensively upgraded and the plant significantly uprated. This is the largest PSP in the world.

Photograph courtesy of Dominion Virginia Power
Re-posted 29 Sep 2012

Location: NY
Operator: New York Power Authority
Configuration: 4 X 290 MW FPT
Operation: 1973
T/G supplier: Hitachi
Quick facts: In Nov 2009, NYPA completed the first phase of a $135mn life extension and modernization program at Blenheim-Gilboa. OEM Hitachi worked on stay vanes and seals and installed newly-designed runners made of high-Ni-13Cr stainless steel. These renovations allow the units to generate in a range from 140 MW to 290 MW, an important improvement from the 203-MW to 260-MW range of the original pump-turbines. The upgraded units also provide for a 10%+ pumping capacity increase and a significant increase in pump efficiency. The spherical valves were also rehabilitated. Blenheim-Gilboa is in the Northern Catskills Its upper reservoir is on Brown Mountain and the lower reservoir ois n the Schoharie Creek. Effective head is around 1,200ft. The plant is also known as George L Ingalls, named after NYPA's longest-serving trustee and the utility's Vice-Chairman at his retirement in 1990.

Photograph courtesy of New York Power Authority
Posted 21 Nov 2009

Cabin Creek
Location: CO
Operator: Xcel Energy
Configuration: 2 X 162 MW FPT
Operation: 1967
T/G supplier: AC
Quick facts: Plant construction began in June 1964 and was completed in April 1967. The plant is located in the Rocky Mountains at an altitude of 10,018ft.

Photograph courtesy of Xcel Energy
Posted 4 Mar 2006

Location: CA
Operator: Los Angeles Dept Water & Power
Configuration: 6 X 200 MW FPT
Operation: 1973-1978
T/G supplier: Hitachi, ASEA
Quick facts: A four-phase modernization process was undertaken at Castaic from 2004 to 2007 including turbine replacements, plant automation, installation of exciters, and improvements to the relay protection system. Plant capacity increased by 80 MW.

Photograph courtesy of Voith Siemens Hydro
Posted 13 Nov 2004

Location: CA
Operator: California Dept Water Resources
Configuration: 8 X 53 MW FPT
Operation: 1967-1968
T/G supplier: Hitachi, GE
Quick facts: Also known as San Luis. Authorized as part of the Central Valley Project in 1960.

Photograph courtesy of U.S.Bureau of Reclamation
Posted 24 Sep 2005

Location: CA
Operator: Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Configuration: 3 X 404 MW FPT
Operation: 1984
T/G supplier: Hitachi, WH
Quick facts: The Helms power station is 50km esat of Fresno in the Sierra National Forest. Construction began in Jun 1977 and commercial operation was on 30 Jun 1984. The upper reservoir is Courtright Lake and Wishon Reservoir serves as the lower reservoir. The water connections are a 10,511 ft head-race tunnel, a 2,248ft steel penstock, three individual penstocks each feeding a pump-generator, and a 3,797ft tail-race tunnel. The effective hydraulic head is 1,625ft. The powerhouse is about 1,000ft underground.

Photograph courtesy of Pacific Gas and Electric Co
Posted 18 Apr 2012

Jack Cockwell
Location: MA
Operator: Brookfield Renewable Power Inc
Configuration: 2 X 300 MW
Operation: 1974
T/G supplier: Hitachi, Toshiba
EPC: Chas T Main, Gates and Fox Co
Quick facts: This power station was formerly called Bear Swamp and was renamed after Jack L Cockwell, fomer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The site is on the Deerfield River. The 88ac upperreservoir is 770ft above a lower reservoir formed by the 130ft tall, 900ft long Fife Brook Dam . New England Power Company started construction on Bear Swamp in 1968 and the plant went online in the fall of 1974. In Feb 2005, the plant was sold to Brascan Power and Emera Inc for $92mn.

Photograph courtesy of Brookfield Renewable Power Inc
Posted 22 Sep 2012

Location: SC
Operator: Duke Energy Carolinas
Configuration: 2 X 170 MW, 2 X 195 MW FPT
Operation: 1973-1975
T/G supplier: AC, WH, Voith
Quick facts: This power station is in Pickens Co and uses Lake Keowee as the lower reservoir and Lake Jocassee as the upper reservoir.All four turbines were replaced by Voith. Each new machine is about 23ft in diameter and weighs about 150t. Units 3&4 were upgraded in 2006/07 and Units 1&2 in 2010/11.

Photograph by zen (flickr)
Posted 4 Aug 2010

Location: MI
Operator: CMS Energy
Configuration: 6 X 312 MW FPT
Operation: 1972-1973
T/G supplier: Hitachi
EPC: Ebasco, Wismer and Becker, Chicago Bridge and Iron
Quick facts: Ludington is jointly-owned with Detroit Edison Co, which has a 49% share. The American Society of Engineers honored Ludington as the Outstanding Engineering Achievement of 1973. The plant took about 4yrs to build and cost $327mn. It was the largest PSP in the world at completion. The11ft deep upper reservoir is 2.5mi long and 1mi wide. The effective head is 529ft. In Feb 2011, the owners announced that they would invest $80mn to refurbish and upgrade the plant. The project is to start in 2013 and complete in 2019. Toshiba was selected as the lead electromechanical contractor.

Photograph courtesy of CMS Energy
Re-posted 12 Feb 2011

Mount Elbert
Location: CO
Operator: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Configuration: 2 X 100 MW FPT
Operation: 1983.-1984
T/G supplier: AC, Fuji, WH
Quick facts: The power plant is an all-concrete structure equivalent to a 14-story building, although most of the structure is below ground on the edge of Twin Lakes.

Photograph courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Posted 18 Mar 2005

Muddy Run
Location: PA
Operator: Exelon Power
Configuration: 8 X 140-MW FPT
Operation: 1967-1968
T/G supplier: BLH, WH
Quick facts: At completion, Susquehanna Electric Co's Muddy Run was the largest PSP in the world with electrical equipment designed by noted Westinghouse engineer Eugene Whitney. Its 887ac reservoir was created by four dams and gives an effective head of 343ft. The main earthen dam is 250ft high and 4,800ft long. During a rehabilitation program running from 2007-2010, the plant has been extensively overhauled with refurbished turbines and generators, plus new switchgear. The original GE air-blast breakers were replaced by ABB working with Phoenix Electric Co who installed custom-designed SF6 breakers that are some of the highest rated of their kind in the world. The primary transmission connection consists of two 220kV circuits to the Peach Bottom nuclear plant just over 4mi away.

Photograph courtesy of Exelon Corp
Posted 17 Oct 2009

Northfield Mountain
Location: MA
Operator: FirstLight Power Resources
Configuration: 4 X 280 MW FPT
Operation: 1972-1973
T/G supplier: BLH, GE
EPC: Stone & Webster
Quick facts: In late 1964, Connecticut Light & Power, Hartford Electric Light, and Western Massachusetts Electric (later part of Northeast Utilities) filed a construction application with the FPC for this project. The final license was issued in Aug 1968. The 300ac upper reservoir is 800ft above the Connecticut River, where a 20mi stretch from Turners Falls Dam north to the Vernon Dam serves as the station's lower reservoir. The powerhouse is 700ft underground and accessible through a 2,500ft tunnel. There are a wide variety of recreational facilities associated with the site. The plant is grid-connected at 345kV to Ludlow, MA, Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, and Albany, NY. Northfield Mountain PSP cost about $69mn and was the world's largest at completion. NU agreed to sell its generation assets to Energy Capital Partners in Jul 2006 and ECP's successor company FirstLight Power was acquired by GDF SUEZ in Dec 2008.

Photograph courtesy of Center for Land Use Interpretation
Posted 17 Oct 2009

Location: CA
Operator: San Diego County Water Authority
Configuration: 2 X 20 MW FPT
Operation: 2011-2012
T/G supplier: GE Hydro, Inepar
EPC: MWH, Archer Western
Quick facts: This was the first new-build PSP project in the USA in about 15yrs. The project scope included the pump station, tunnels, inlet/outlet structure, related site improvements, and the installation of the two T/G sets and other electromechanical equipment. The scheme draws water from Olivenhain Reservoir through the 1.25mi long, 10ft diameter pipeline tunnel to a 10-story, underground ground powerhouse on Lake Hodges. The effective head is about 770ft. The first unit went online on 14 Sep 2011 and the second about 11mos later. Electricity is sold SDG&E. The entire project cost $196mn, about 4yrs past the original scheduel and some $45mn over budget. The power component cost about $70mn.

Photograph courtesy of San Diego County Water Authority
Re-posted 3 Aug 2013

Raccoon Mountain
Location: TN
Operator: Tennessee Valley Authority
Configuration: 4 X 383 MW FPT
Operation: 1978-1979
T/G supplier: AC, Siemens
Quick facts: TVA began planning this scheme in 1961 and the project was approved in Feb 1970. Construction began that summer and was originally scheduled for completion in 1973, however the plant was not completed until 1979. The total cost was just over $300mn. In 1974, the National Society of Professional Engineers named the work at Raccoon Mountain one of America's most outstanding engineering projects. At completion, the pump turbines were the largest in the world. The plant was taken offline in Mar 2012 for about $90mn of repairs on the T/G rotors. Raccoon Mountai re-opened in Jun 2014.

Photograph courtesy of Voith
Re-posted 3 Aug 2013

Rocky Mountain
Location: GA
Operator: Oglethorpe Power Corp
Configuration: 3 X 345 MW FPT
Operation: 1995
T/G supplier: Hitachi, GE
EPC: Harza, Morrison-Knudsen, Clement Bros
Quick facts: Rocky Mountain was the last major pumped-storage plant to have been built in the USA.

Photograph courtesy of Power
Posted 7 Jul 2004

Location: OK
Operator: Grand River Dam Authority
Configuration: 6 X 48 MW FPT
Operation: 1968-1971
T/G supplier: AC, WH
Quick facts: With all possible dam sites in the Grand River system already utilized by the late 1960s, GRDA built Oklahoma's first pumped-storage facility in the hills southeast of Salina along the Saline Creek arm of Lake Hudson.

Photograph courtesy of Grand River Dam Authority
Posted 5 Aug 2004

Location: PA
Operator: FirstEnergy Corp
Configuration: 2 X 210 MW FPT, 1 X 30 MW Francis
Operation: 1969
T/G supplier: NN, BLH, WH
EPC: Harza
Quick facts: Seneca power station is co-located with the Corps of Engineers Kinzua Dam (179ft high) and Allegheny Reservoir in the Allegheny National forest. The plant has a 102ac site and was built as a joint venture of Pennsylvania Electric Co, then a subsidiary of General Public Utilities, and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co, later merged into FirstEnergy Corp. In 1999, FirstEnergy bought out GPU's 20% stake for $43mn. The upper reservoir is on a sandstone plateau about 800ft above the river and formed by a circular ring dike about 1/2mi in diameter and ranging from 30-120ft in height. The original Woodard governors and unit controls were changed out during spring outages in 2006 and 2007. The new equipment was supplied by L&S electric and Allen Bradley.

Photograph courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers
Posted 18 Oct 2008

Smith Mountain
Location: VA
Operator: Appalachian Power Co
Configuration: 2 X 70 MW, 1 X 100 MW FPT, 2 X 160 MW Francis
Operation: 1965-1980
T/G supplier: BLH, AC, GE
Quick facts: The project utilizes Smith Mountain Lake as its upper reservoir and Leesville Lake as the lower reservoir. A portion of the water goes through turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse (2 X 20 MW) to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license. The double-curvature, concrete arch dam is 816ft dam long and 235ft high.

Photograph courtesy of American Electric Power Co
Posted 24 Sep 2005

Taum Sauk
Location: MO
Operator: Ameren Missouri
Configuration: 2 X 225 MW FPT
Operation: 1963
T/G supplier: AC, Voith, GE, American Hydro Corp
Quick facts: The Taum Sauk project was built from 1960-1963 and the 175-MW T/G sets were rebuilt and uprated in 1999 by American Hydro. The upper reservoir was built by topping Profit Mountain. In Dec 2005, Taum Sauk suffered a 213m breach at the northwest corner of the dike containing the upper reservoir. This caused a catastrophic release of water down the west slope of Profit Mountain and into the Black River East Fork. Paul Rizzo Assoc was retained to complete the forensic engineering to ascertain the cause of the dam failure and later completed the design of a new RCC dam/dike for the $490mn rebuild project. The new reservoir holds about 1.5bn gallons of water. The plant recommissioned in Apr 2010.

Photograph courtesy of Power
Re-posted 20 Nov 2010


Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 31-Oct-2015