Lake Keowee and Keowee Hydro
The 2-unit Keowee Hydro s a 157.5-megawatt conventional hydro generating plant located in Pickens County, South Carolina. Keowee Hydro began operating in 1971. The average annual generation from the Keowee Hydro is approximately 70,000 megawatt hours. Lake Keowee’s full pond elevation is 800 feet above msl. At full pond, the surface area of Lake Keowee is approximately 17,700 acres with approximately 388 miles of shoreline.
Lake Keowee was formed by constructing dams across the Keowee River and the Little River, creating a reservoir with two distinct halves. The Keowee Dam is a homogenous earthfill structure 170 feet high and 3,500 feet in length. The Little River Dam is a homogenous earthfill structure 150 feet high and 1,800 feet in length. The four saddle dikes (designated as A, B, C, and D) range in height from 4 to 100 feet and are located on the Little River segment of the reservoir. The Little River portion of Lake Keowee is connected to the Keowee River side of Lake Keowee by an excavated canal.
In addition to providing hydroelectric power, Lake Keowee provides a crucial source for cooling water for Oconee Nuclear Station (ONS), a 2,538 MW nuclear power generating facility located adjacent to Keowee Hydro. Since Keowee Hydro also serves as one of the emergency power sources for ONS, it is operated by operators at ONS. This ensures that Keowee Hydo is fully available for emergencies at ONS.