Keowee Hydroelectric Station Celebrates 40 Years of Service April 14, 2011
SENECA, S.C. -
Forty years ago this Sunday, April 17, Keowee Hydroelectric Station entered commercial operation, contributing 158 megawatts of clean, efficient power to the Upstate.
“We are honored Keowee Hydro has been a part of this community for four decades,” said Sam Burton, station supervisor. “Building hydroelectric capacity here and forming Lake Keowee have resulted in a special amenity that will continue to provide a beautiful place to live and visit for years to come.”
Lake Keowee itself is formed by a dam on the Keowee River and another on the Little River. Work began on the Keowee Dam site in spring 1967, and Duke closed gates on the Keowee Dam in April 1970 to begin the final impounding of Lake Keowee to its ultimate depth of 150 feet. The hydro station produces electricity through two turbines that are fed by a water pipe (penstock) that is 800 feet long and 34 feet in diameter. It provides enough electricity to power 126,400 homes.
One of Keowee’s important functions is as a backup power source for Oconee Nuclear Station. Oconee is the only nuclear station in the country with an on-site hydroelectric station for that purpose.
The Keowee-Toxaway Hydroelectric Project, which includes Keowee and Jocassee hydro stations and both lakes, is in the initial phases of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicensing process. The current license expires in August 2016, and a final license application is due to the FERC in August 2014.
Duke Energy’s hydro stations are critical to meeting each day’s peak electrical demand. Hydroelectricity normally supplies 15 to 25 percent of the electricity needed each day in the Carolinas when customers’ electricity usage is highest.
With no emissions, hydroelectric stations were the first “green” power generating sources and continue to be important elements in Duke Energy’s generation mix.
Hydro also helps insulate Duke Energy electric customers from the cost and risk of having to purchase peak power from sources outside of Duke Energy’s service area.
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 12 million people. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.