Hydroelectric

Dave DeWitt

The dank, dark tunnel deep inside the Cowans Ford Dam—about 100 feet or so below the water line of Lake Norman north of Charlotte—is where I learn a little-known fact.

All dams leak.

Jeff Lineberger, Duke Energy’s director of Hydro Strategy and Licensing, and Mike Williams, the Cowans Ford facility director, smile and patiently explain to a novice the small waterfalls cascading down a staircase and into a trough alongside the tunnel.

Raleigh is hoping to build another sustainable energy facility. This one would be a hydroelectric plant at the Falls Lake Dam.

Dave DeWitt: Raleigh already generates power by harnessing methane gas at its landfill. Now, city officials are hoping to turn the Falls Lake Dam into a power plant. It would be small, generating electricity for just a few hundred homes. But it could also be profitable.