Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant is a dam on the lower Susquehana
River in north eastern Maryland. The Susquehana River flows
through Pensylvania and Maryland, emptying in the Chesapeake Bay.
The Conowingo Project began in 1926, and was the lingle
largest generating station ever bilt in one step and used the
largest turbines ever produced to generate electricity. The
output of the seven turbines was second only to Niagra Falls.
The original output of the hydroelectric plant was 252 Megawatts, but
in 1964, it was upgraded to 512 Megawatts. The plant contains the original
seven turbines, each producing 36 Megawatts apiece, and four larger units
rated at 65 Megawatts each. The Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant provides
pwer for over 300,000 homes.
In 1972, "fish lifts" were added to the plant to allow fish
to savely navagate the Susquehana River. In 1991 another lift was
installed, and presently the lifts can accomidate the transfer of 750,000
fish in one season. This is the largest lift system is the largest in the
The Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant utilizes a 89-foot drop in the
Susquehana River to produce electricity. The two intakes have a concrete
curtain and screen to prevent trash, ice, and debris from entering the
dam. The water then enters the penstock and travels to the wicket gates.
These gates control the flow of water into the turbines. The water then
exits through the flood gates. The turbines turn generators which create
energy by converting mechanical energy to electrical energy. The
generators produce 13,800 volts of electricity which is stepped up, using
transformeres, to 220,000 volts before being transmitted through power
lines to Philadelphia.
Facts and Figures
|Height above riverbed
||104 feet at roadbed
|Width at base
||85 feet at spillways
|Resevoir area (Conowingo Pond)
||14 square mailes
|Water flow at full generation
||687,000 gallons per second
|Transmission voltage at power lines
Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant, Brochure, Peco Energy.
All images ©1998 Peco Energy, Permission granted to reproduce
obtained from Conowingo Hydroelectric Plant.