Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant

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Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant
Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant.jpg
Tailrace (TN River) of RMPS (TVA photo)
Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant is located in Tennessee
Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant
Location of Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant
Country United States
Location Marion County, Tennessee
Coordinates 35°2′54″N 85°23′48″W / 35.04833°N 85.39667°W / 35.04833; -85.39667Coordinates: 35°2′54″N 85°23′48″W / 35.04833°N 85.39667°W / 35.04833; -85.39667
Status Operational
Construction began 1970
Commission date 1978
Owner(s) Tennessee Valley Authority
Pumped-storage power station
Lower reservoir Nickajack Lake
Pumps 4 ×
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 1,652 MW (2,215,000 hp)

Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant is a pumped-storage hydroelectric underground power station in Marion County, just west of Chattanooga in the U.S. state of Tennessee.

The facility is owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Construction was started in 1970 and was completed in 1978.[1]

Water is pumped from Nickajack Lake on the Tennessee River at the base of Raccoon Mountain to a storage reservoir built at the top of the mountain. The reservoir at the top of the mountain covers 528 acres (214 ha), with a dam that is 230 feet (70 m) high and 5,800 feet (1,800 m) long, the largest rock-fill dam ever built by TVA. It takes 28 hours to fill the upper reservoir. During periods of high electric demand, water can be released from the reservoir through a tunnel drilled through the center of the mountain, driving electric generators in an underground hydroelectric plant.[1] The plant has a capacity of 1,652 megawatts (2,215,000 hp) of electricity and can generate for up to 22 hours. The plant is used most days and serves as an important element for peak power generation and grid balancing in the TVA system.[2][3]

The plant was idled in March 2012 due to cracks in the generators' rotors. The plant came entirely back on line in April 2014.[4]

Diagram of the facility


The facility is a popular recreation spot for hiking, walking, running, road and mountain biking, and is the home of the Raccoon Mountain Marathon, Half Marathon, Double Half and Relay,[5] which attracts runners from all over North America. Raccoon Mountain also hosts the Raccoon Mountain 5K and 10K races held each year.


  1. ^ a b TVA: Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant
  2. ^ Adkins, F.E., 1987, TVA Report "Raccoon Mountain pumped storage plant; Ten years operating experience," IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, Volume EC-2, Issue 3 (September 1987), pages 361 - 368. CODEN:ITCNE
  3. ^ The Mountaintop Marvel, TVA Heritage website, accessed September 8, 2010
  4. ^ Sohn, Pam (August 10, 2012). "TVA's pumped storage facility on Raccoon Mountain idle". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Archived from the original on August 26, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  5. ^ http://runchattanooga.org/rmm

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