The Bath County Pumped Storage Station is a pumped storage hydroelectric power plant with a generation capacity of 2,772 megawatts (MW). The station is located in the northern corner of Bath County, Virginia, on the southeast side of the Eastern Continental Divide, which forms this section of the border between Virginia and West Virginia. The station consists of two reservoirs separated by about 1,260 feet (380 m) in elevation.

Bath County Pumped Storage Station cost $1.6 billion, and was constructed with 2,100 megawatts (MW) capacity. In 2004 upgrades started, increasing power generation to 510MW and pumping power to 480MW per turbine. Bath County Station is jointly owned by Dominion Generation (60%) and the Allegheny Power System (40%), and managed by Dominion. It went into operation in 1985 and is still the largest-capacity pumped-storage power station in the world.

How it works

Water is released from the upper reservoir during periods of high demand and is used to generate electricity. What makes this different from other hydroelectric dams is that during times of low demand, power is taken from coal, nuclear, and other power plants and is used to pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir. Although this plant uses more power than it generates, it allows these other plants to operate at close to peak efficiency for an overall cost savings. Back Creek and Little Back Creek, the water sources used to create the reservoirs, have a relatively small flow rate. However, since water is pumped between the reservoirs equally, the only water taken from these creeks now that the reservoirs are full is to replace the water lost to evaporation. During operation, the water level fluctuates by over 105 feet (30 m) in the 265-acre (110 ha) upper reservoir and 60 feet (20 m) feet in the 555-acre (220 ha) lower reservoir.

When generating power, the water flow can be as much as 13.5 million gallons per minute (850 m³/sec). When storing power, the flow can be as much as 12.7 million gallons per minute (800 m³/sec).


A fishing habitat was created downstream of the facility. In times of drought water quality can be maintained by using nearby recreational reservoirs to supply extra water to the creeks. The creeks and recreational reservoirs have water quality sufficient for fish.

Bath County Pumped Storage Station
Country United States
Locale Bath County, Virginia
Coordinates 38°12′32″N 79°48′00″W / 38.20889°N 79.8°W / 38.20889; -79.8 / 38.20889; -79.8
Status Operational
Commission date 1985
Construction cost US$1.6 billion
Owner(s) Dominion Generation
Allegheny Energy

Reservoir information
Surface area 1.1 km2 (0.4 sq mi)
Pumped-storage station information
Upper reservoir spillway discharge 850 m3/s (30,017 cu ft/s)

Power generation information
Installed capacity 2,772 MW