Appalachian Power, a unit of American Electric Power (AEP), began its re-licensing initiative in 2002. Its original 50-year licence to operate the project expires on 31 March next year.
Appalachian Power built the Smith Mountain project in the 1960s, and it first generated electricity for customers in 1964. It is the largest hydroelectric facility on the American Electric Power system and has a generating capacity of 636MW. The project consists of two reservoirs, Smith Mountain and Leesville, and two sets of generators located in the Smith Mountain Dam and the Leesville Dam.
The license not only includes operating guidelines for Smith Mountain Lake, but extends to Leesville Lake and the Roanoke and Staunton rivers to Kerr Reservoir. The license incorporates operating procedures and individual management plans that address issues including water management, water quality, debris, sedimentation, aquatic vegetation, navigational guides, endangered species, shoreline protection and recreation.
Additional information about the Smith Mountain project, the regulatory review process and how the facility operates is available from AEP at http://www.smithmtn.com.