Rocky Mountain Hydro

by Teresa Austin, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 5, Pg. 48-51

Document Type: Feature article


By May 1995, the $700 million Rocky Mountain Pumped Storage project will bring 850 MW of peaking power to a large part of the population in northwest Georgia. Its opening will mark only the second U.S. completion of a pumped storage system in this decade, since the 1991 opening of the Duke Power Bad Creek project opened in South Carolina. Despite losing time to the major blizzard that devastated much of the south and northeast this past March, construction of the project is on time and on budget. Primary owner Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Tucker, Ga. is the nation's largest generation and transmission cooperative and the power supplier for 39 of Georgia's 42 electric distribution cooperatives. The project is located on Heath Creek, eight miles east of the Georgia/Alabama border. It consists of an upper reservoir that sits atop Rocky Mountain; a lower reservoir; two auxiliary pools, nine dams (all made of earth and rock fill except for the 900 ft. long main concrete dam); 2,700 ft. of tunnel and penstock; a power plant; 2.7 mi. of transmission line; and a switching substation. In producing electricity by the pumped storage method, water is forced under pressure through a power tunnel to a turbine that produces electricity from an adjoining generator. During the day, the water falls from an upper reservoir, through the pump/turbines to produce electricity and on to a lower reservoir. At night, the water is pumped back to the upper reservoir so that it can be used again during peak daylight hours.

Subject Headings: Reservoirs | Hydro power | Waste storage | Energy storage | Power transmission | Concrete dams | Water storage | Mountains | Rocky Mountains | United States | Georgia | South Carolina

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