Leesville Dam Generator Test Planned This Week – Will Increase Downstream Flows

Appalachian Power will conduct a required test of its electricity generating units at the Leesville Dam in southwestern Virginia beginning at approximately 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, and lasting through early Friday, Aug. 18.

Testing will increase downstream flows at locations on the Roanoke River (known locally as Staunton River). Locations downstream of the dam—for example, the Altavista area—can expect to see a slow and gradual increase in elevation to about 8 feet, reaching a peak between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Friday. River flows will then decrease and return to normal following the test.

The test will ramp up the operation of the generators at the dam and will create water flows that increase slowly over seven hours. Outflows will peak at the dam between 9-10 p.m. Thursday before decreasing over several hours to normal water-release. The test is not expected to create downstream hazards, but the company urges recreational and commercial users of the river and shoreline to be aware of temporary higher levels and faster water flows.

Appalachian will concurrently run both of its 24-megawatt generators at Leesville for one hour during the peak test period. Weather or other circumstances could change the timing of this test. The annual testing is required by PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in the mid-Atlantic region.

Leesville Dam is the lower dam of the two-reservoir Smith Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric project operated by Appalachian Power in southwestern Virginia. Leesville Lake is in Bedford, Campbell and Pittsylvania counties on the Roanoke River.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power)

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