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Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant
Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant.jpg
Tailrace (TN River) of RMPS (TVA photo)
Country United States
Location Marion County, Tennessee
Coordinates 35°2′54″N 85°23′48″W / 35.04833°N 85.39667°W / 35.04833; -85.39667Coordinates: 35°2′54″N 85°23′48″W / 35.04833°N 85.39667°W / 35.04833; -85.39667
Purpose Power
Status Operational
Construction began July 1970 (1970-07)
Opening date 1978 (1978)
Construction cost $310 million (1978)
Owner(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Operator(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Embankment dam
Height (foundation) 230 feet (70 m)
Length 8,500 feet (2,600 m)
Dam volume 10,000,000 cubic yards (7,600,000 m3)
Reservoir
Total capacity 107,000,000,000 US gallons (4.1×1011 l; 8.9×1010 imp gal)
Surface area 528 acres (214 ha)
Maximum water depth 222 feet (68 m)
Normal elevation 1,672 feet (510 m)
Power station
Name Power Station
Operator(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Commission date 1978 (1978)
Type Pumped-storage
Hydraulic head 1,040 feet (320 m)
Installed capacity 1652
Capacity factor 20%
Annual generation -686
Website
Raccoon Mountain

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant is a pumped-storage hydroelectric underground power station in Marion County, just west of Chattanooga in the U.S. state of Tennessee.

The facility is owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Construction was started in 1970 and was completed in 1978.

Water is pumped from Nickajack Lake on the Tennessee River at the base of Raccoon Mountain to a storage reservoir built at the top of the mountain. The reservoir at the top of the mountain covers 528 acres (214 ha), with a dam that is 230 feet (70 m) high and 5,800 feet (1,800 m) long, the largest rock-fill dam ever built by TVA. It takes 28 hours to fill the upper reservoir. During periods of high electric demand, water can be released from the reservoir through a tunnel drilled through the center of the mountain, driving electric generators in an underground hydroelectric plant. The plant has a maximum power output of 1,652 megawatts (2,215,000 hp) and can generate for up to 22 hours. The plant is used most days and serves as an important element for peak power generation and grid balancing in the TVA system.

The plant was idled in March 2012 due to cracks in the generators' rotors. The plant came entirely back on line in April 2014.

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant
Diagram of the facility

Recreation

The facility is a popular recreation spot for hiking, walking, running, road and mountain biking, and is the home of the Raccoon Mountain Marathon, Half Marathon, Double Half and Relay, which attracts runners from all over North America. Raccoon Mountain also hosts the Raccoon Mountain 5K and 10K races held each year.

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