Raleigh pulls plug on Falls Lake hydroelectric dam idea
Posted April 5, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — City officials have scrapped plans to develop a hydroelectric facility at Falls Lake dam.
The City Council two years ago authorized staffers to file documents of intent with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and to begin searching for a consultant to help develop funding options for the design and construction of the dam.
Electricity generated from the $5 million to $7 million dam would be enough to power several hundred houses, then-Mayor Charles Meeker said at the time.
The council decided this week to end a study of the dam.
Assistant Public Utilities Director Kenny Waldroup, who recommended ending the project, said the city had to make sure the dam was socially, economically and environmentally viable before it would be considered.
Waldroup said the dam would not generate much electricity, and it would take the city 50 years to recoup the costs from selling the electricity.
Raleigh started working on the hydroelectric plan after a Vermont-based company expressed interest in using the existing Falls Lake dam to make electricity. City officials said they wanted to protect water levels, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-operated lake is the primary source of drinking water for Raleigh and several area towns.