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Tapoco, originally Tallassee Power Company, was a generator and supplier of electric power. Tapoco was a division of APGI (Alcoa Power Generating Inc.) which in turn was owned by Alcoa, Inc. The Tapoco Project served to generate and supply hydroelectric power to Alcoa’s Tennessee Operations, an aluminum smelting and rolling mill in Alcoa, Tennessee. The Tennessee Operations complex has had a presence in the Great Smoky Mountains' foothills for more than 75 years. The aluminum smelter, which used large amounts of electric power, first began operation in 1913. The North Plant fabricating facility opened in 1942 to help meet the aluminum needs for World War II. The Tennessee complex was one of the most modern aluminum manufacturing facilities in the world[citation needed] before it shut down in 2009. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners of Canada paid $600 million for the four dams, 86 miles of transmission lines, and 14,500 acres in 2012. Tapoco-APGI became Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower on November 15 of that year.[1][2][3][4]

Tapoco owned and operated the Tapoco Project, four separate hydroelectric complexes located along the Little Tennessee River and the Cheoah River in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. The Tapoco Project comprises four developments: Calderwood, Cheoah, Chilhowee, and Santeetlah.[3] TVA assists Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower in determining the daily operation levels of the Tapoco developments to best match expected flow releases from Fontana Dam, since TVA's Fontana Dam serves as the primary flow control facility for the lower Little Tennessee River area.[5]

Tapoco was created to manage the water power resources of the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers in order to provide power for Alcoa’s nearby aluminum smelting and rolling operations. Alcoa began its involvement in hydroelectric power development and generation in Tennessee and North Carolina in 1909. Tallassee Power Company originally built three of the facilities. The Cheoah Dam and Powerhouse was constructed on the Cheoah River between 1916–1919, Santeetlah Development between 1925–1928 and Calderwood Development between 1928–1930. Tapoco constructed the final dam, Chilhowee, from 1955–1957. Combined, the four developments have a licensed capacity of 380.1 megawatts.[3]

The Cheoah Dam is also the dam used in the movie The Fugitive where Harrison Ford's character jumps to escape.[6]


  1. ^ "Power sales from Alcoa's dams rise to $30M". Winston-Salem Journal. The Associated Press. October 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Tapoco Hydroelectric Project Divestiture". Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Overview". Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Norris, Robert (November 15, 2012). "ALCOA closes dam sale: Tapoco now Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower". The Daily Times (Maryville, Tennessee). Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cheoah". Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Far Western Nature Tour". Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. Retrieved November 11, 2013.