|Alcoa Power Generating, Inc.|
Producing aluminum requires a lot of electricity. APGI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcoa Aluminum, whose purpose is generating power (surprise!) for some of Alcoa's operations. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensed Cheoah Dam and Santeetlah, Calderwood. and Chilhowee Dams as the Tapoco Project in 1955, FERC Procect Number 2169. The license expires February 28, 2005, and APGI is in the process of re-licensing the project, which must be filed by February 28, 2003. So, they put up this web site to keep all interested parties informed, and to do a little PR. Works for us!
We originally stumbled across the group by accident. We had spent most of the afternoon at Fontana Dam. We were staying at Unicoi State Park near Helen, Ga, so we left Fontana and drove down the Little Tennessee River... we had seen some dams indicated on a TVA pamphlet that weren't identified, so we thought we would take a look-see on our way back to the park. A few miles downstream, on the other side of the river, was a powerhouse! You could see the pipes coming down the side of the mountain, and we were thinking "Where's the dam??". After taking some pictures, we continued downstream until we came across Cheoah Dam. We took pictures there, then crossed the river and headed towards Robbinsville. Eventually we drove under the huge pipe that fed the powerhouse. We never did find the dam, but it was getting dark, and it was already obvious that we would be making another Dam Quest to this area after we did some research. So we continued on back to the park.
Finally, in April 2001, we made our Tapoco Dam Quest. The trip report is available here. While we were at it, we also bagged Fort Loudoun and Tellico Dams, TVA dams in eastern Tennessee.
Because of limited access to Calderwood Dam, we went back about a month later with an appointment to meet with APGI for access to the dam. Here is the trip report.
Pix are here..
On the way back from the second Tapoco Quest, we drove the Cherohala Skyway. Here we are at one of the overlooks, looking into eastern Tennessee. You can't see it in the picture, but we could see the vapor plumes from the cooling tower at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. Thanx to the fellow traveler that pushed the button for us.