R.B. Russell Powerhouse, GA

PROJECT NAME AND STATE:  R. B. Russell Powerhouse, GA

AUTHORIZATION:  Flood Control Act of 1966; Water Resources Development Act of 1976; Water Resources Development Act of 1986.



Estimated Federal Cost


Estimated Non-Federal Cost


Total Estimated Cost




Allocation thru FY 2017


President's Budget for FY 2018


Programmed Balance to Complete After FY 2018



LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION:  Hydropower. Richard B. Russell Dam is located on the Savannah River 275.1 miles upstream of the river’s mouth, 29.9 miles downstream from the Hartwell Dam, and about 37.4 miles upstream of the J. Strom Thurmond Dam (JST).  This is approximately 16 miles southeast of Elberton, Georgia between the existing JST and Hartwell Lakes.  The project consists of a concrete gravity-type dam flanked by earth embankments with a maximum height of 200 feet above the river.  The total length of the dam is 5,616 feet and consists of a 1,884-foot concrete section and embankments with a total length of 3,732 feet.  The gate-controlled spillway has a design capacity of 80,000 c.f.s.  The project includes the installation of 328 megawatts of conventional power completed in January 1986 and 320 megawatts of reversible pumped storage power for a total available capacity of 648 megawatts completed in 1992.


ACTIVITIES COMPLETED FOR FY2017:  The fifth and final year of required year of environmental monitoring was initiated in January 2017.  Continued critical pump storage operations to maximize power generation and revenues to treasury.  

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2018:  Collect final three months of data, complete Final Report and fiscal close out.

ISSUES AND OTHER INFORMATION:  The main circuit breakers and static frequency converter system (MCB/SFC) for pump back units 5-8 was completed in April 2013  using $4.8 M in Construction General Funds  and $5.0M in Customer Funds from the Federal Power Customers in coordination with the Southeastern Power Administration.   Customer Funds in the amount of $498K were also used for two modifications to the contract for the SFC system and modifications to the excitation system for units five through eight.  The O2 System completed in 2012 provides increased habitat for striped bass to mitigate for the habitat loss due to water temperature increases in the RBR tail water resulting from pumped storage operations.  As a requirement of the legal settlement, NEPA requires a total of seven years of environmental monitoring for water quality and fisheries impacts.  Two years with 2 pumped storage units have been completed.  Five more years of monitoring with full pumped storage operation began in the summer of 2013 and will be completed in December 2017.


MCB/SFC Installation Construction Complete

21 Oct 2013

Begin Year-2 of 5 year post construction monitoring & complete Year-1

01 Jan 2014

Begin Year-3 of 5-year post construction monitoring & complete Year-2

01 Jan 2015

Begin Year-4 of 5-year post construction monitoring & complete Year-3

01 Jan 2016

Begin Year-5 of 5-year post construction monitoring & complete Year-4

01 Jan 2017

Complete Year-5 of 5-year post construction monitoring

31 Dec 2017

Contractor submits monitoring report 01 Jun 2017
Final Report Complete 30 Sep 2017
Fiscal Completion 31 Dec 2017


ADMINISTRATION POSITIONConsistent with Administration policy for major power-plant construction.

ACTION OFFICER:  Margarett (Mackie) McIntosh                                   1 October 2017