Bad Creek Pumped Storage Project

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Duke Energy

About the Bad Creek Project

Able to produce enough energy to power nearly 1 million homes, the Bad Creek Project provides emissions-free hydroelectric power to Duke Energy customers across its Carolinas service area. One of the largest generating facilities on Duke Energy’s system, the Bad Creek Project operates like a massive battery – quickly generating or storing power in response to electricity supply and demand.

The project is located approximately 8 miles north of Salem, in Oconee County, S.C.

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 164-foot-tall, three-level powerhouse is situated just steps away from Lake Jocassee. You wouldn’t know this from visiting the area, but the powerhouse is hollowed into a mountain, 600 feet underground. With the Bad Creek Reservoir atop the mountain and Lake Jocassee below, the powerhouse can create or store electricity by transferring water between the two bodies of water.

Hydroelectric Pumped Storage:
How It Works

Water is stored in the Bad Creek Reservoir at the top of the mountain until customers need energy the most. During times of peak demand, the water travels nearly three-quarters of a mile down a concrete tunnel to the underground powerhouse. This water then spins turbines and generators to produce up to 1,400 megawatts (MW) of power.

Given the need for additional energy storage due to the significant amount of renewable energy generation expected to be added across Duke Energy’s service territories during Bad Creek’s planned 40- to 50-year operating license, the company is evaluating opportunities to add more pumped storage and generating capacity at the Bad Creek site. The Bad Creek II Power Complex would potentially double the energy and storage capability of the existing Bad Creek Project.

  • Efficient
  • Renewable
  • Reliable

Why does the Bad Creek Project need relicensing?

The now 30-year-old project is one of the most powerful and flexible energy generation and storage assets on the Duke Energy system. We recently made turbine upgrades and plant modernization improvements at the Bad Creek Project to help ensure its reliable and efficient operation now and in the future.

Duke Energy was authorized to construct and operate the Bad Creek Project through a 50-year license issued by FERC in 1977. With the project license term set to expire in 2027, we started the process to prepare a new license application to continue operating Bad Creek and potentially expand the project through construction of the additional powerhouse.

Lake Jocassee serves as the lower reservoir for the Bad Creek Project but is part of the Keowee-Toxaway Project (FERC Project No. 2503), which includes the Jocassee Pumped-Storage Generating Station. FERC issued a separate license in 2016 for the operation of the Keowee-Toxaway Project.

This relicensing is a step on Duke Energy’s path to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, and we’re committed to working collaboratively with stakeholders and regulators throughout the process.

Learn More

Did you know?

1991 The year construction of the Bad Creek Project was complete.

When ongoing plant upgrades are complete, the Bad Creek Project will produce enough energy to power 1 million homes

1,400 MW Bad Creek’s energy storage capacity, which was equal to nearly all electric grid battery storage capacity in the U.S. in 2020.

How to Get Involved

The relicensing process details, milestones and relevant documents for the Bad Creek Project will be available to the public. Interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to participate. Per FERC requirements, Duke Energy will compile and maintain a contact list including agencies, organizations, individuals or groups with whom consultation is required or who have requested to be included as relicensing participants.

We will use this contact list to provide electronic notice of any public meetings along with information available for public review. You can request to be added or removed from the list by contacting our team.

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Questions or comments? Fill out the form below and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.

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