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Generating Unit Flyaround- video clip USBR.jpg

Fly Around Video Clip of Generating Unit

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The Hydropower Resource

Glen Canyon Dam is the second highest (710 feet) concrete-arch dam in the United States, second only to Hoover Dam which stands at 726 feet. The 26.2 million acre-feet of water storage capacity in Lake Powell, created by Glen Canyon Dam, serves as a ‘bank account’ of water that is drawn on in times of drought. This stored water has made it possible to successfully weather extended dry periods by sustaining the needs of cities, industries, and agriculture throughout the West.

Hydroelectric power produced by the dam’s eight generators helps meet the electrical needs of the West’s rapidly growing population. With a total capacity of 1,320 megawatts, Glen Canyon Powerplant produces around five billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power annually which is distributed by the Western Area Power Administration to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Nebraska. In addition, revenues from production of hydropower help fund many important environmental programs associated with Glen and Grand canyons.

The designation of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in 1972, underscores the value and importance of the recreation benefits associated with Lake Powell and the Colorado River downstream of the dam. The GCNRA is managed by the National Park Service.

Glen Canyon Dam is the key water storage unit of the Colorado River Storage Project, one of the most complex and extensive river resource developments in the world. Without it, development of the Upper Colorado River Basin states’ portion of the Colorado River would not have been possible. [1]

LTEMP Resource Goal for the Hydropower Resource

Maintain or increase Glen Canyon Dam electric energy generation, load following capability, and ramp rate capability, and minimize emissions and costs to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with improvement and long-term sustainability of downstream resources.

Desired Future Condition for the Hydropower Resource

• Glen Canyon Dam capacity and energy generation is maintained and increased, so as to produce the greatest practicable amount of power and energy, consistent with the other DFCs.
• Ensure continued delivery of Glen Canyon Dam hydropower to the existing customers who have entered into long-term firm power contracts with WAPA.
• Ensure sufficient and efficient production of Glen Canyon Dam hydropower in order to provide the revenues to support the CRSP facilities and purposes.
• Maintain the operational flexibility (including but not limited to load following capability, ramp rates, and emergency operations allowances) that enable Reclamation and WAPA to meet the system operating and other regulatory requirements of WECC, North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as emergency operating criteria for safety and human health situations.
• Maximize the environmental benefits of hydropower generation at Glen Canyon Dam.
• Minimize carbon emissions through hydropower generation at Glen Canyon Dam.

Hydropower - Online Training


USBR- Q& A on GCD Hydropower

Links and Information

WAPA Annual Reports

Presentations and Papers





Adding Generation to the Bypass Tubes

Other Stuff

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