Jocassee pumped-storage hydro plant upgrade begins with turbine deliveries

Duke Energy’s Jocassee Pumped-Storage Hydroelectric Station will receive two new turbines for units 1 and 2 this fall, upgrading the station and increasing capacity by 50 megawatts.

The turbines, being manufactured by Voith Hydro in York, Pa., represent design for greater efficiency. Following a seven-day trek, the first turbine will arrive near Salem on Aug. 9. The second turbine is expected to arrive at this location in early September.

Each hydropower turbine – about 23 feet in diameter and weighing nearly 150 tons – will be transported via interstate highways on 20-axle, dual-lane trailers about 250 feet long.

These turbines will be the first upgrades to Jocassee units 1 and 2 since they began commercial operation in 1973. Replacing the turbines will enhance hydro generation from the current maximum capability of 170 megawatts to 195 megawatts each. Each also will increase pumping capacity by 37 megawatts. Units 3 and 4 were upgraded in 2006 and 2007.

Lake Jocassee will be operated at least four feet below full pond during the upgrades to units 1 and 2, which are planned for September 2010 through May 2011.

When generating electricity, the Jocassee pumped-storage facility works as a conventional hydroelectric station. However, the facility also can reverse its turbines and pump back previously used water from Lake Keowee into Lake Jocassee. This allows Duke Energy to reuse the water to generate electricity for customers during periods of highest demand.

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