Roanoke Rapids Power Station

Roanoke Rapids

Roanoke Rapids, NC
Powers 23,750 homes

Brief Facts

  • Commercial operations began in 1955
  • Located on Roanoke Rapids lake that is created by the power station dam
  • Lake is supplied by water from the Roanoke River that is regulated eight miles upstream by Dominion Energy's Gaston Hydro Power Station and Gaston Dam.
  • When water is allowed to pass from the lake through the powerhouse, the station's four generators can produce up to 95-megawatts.
  • The station can produce as much electric power in one hour as about 10 average homes use in one year.
  • It took 245,000 cubic yards of concrete to build the dam - the equivalent of a sidewalk six feet wide and 189 miles long.
  • The power house rests atop a rock foundation 70 feet above sea level, and rises at its crest to an elevation of 142 feet above sea level.

>> View Historic Documentation for Roanoke River & Gaston Dams, Canal & Locks

Station Facts and Specifications

Length: 3,050 feet
Maximum height: 72 feet
Crest gates-Type: Radial, Number: 24

River flows at dam site:
Average annual flow: 8,000 cu. ft per sec.
Maximum flow of record (8/18/1940): 261,000 cu. ft. per sec.
Minimum flow of record (12/16/1955): 250 cu. ft. per sec.
Turbine discharge capacity: 20,000 cu. ft. per sec.

Reservoir: (Characteristics at 132 feet elevation at dam)
Length of reservoir: 8 miles
Length of shoreline: 47 miles
Maximum width: 1.25 miles
Storage: 77,000 acre-feet
Reservoir surface: 4,600 acres

Elevations: (Feet above mean sea level)
Top of dam: 142
Base of dam: 70
Base of power house: 7
Bottom of tailrace: 15
Normal full power pool: 132

Power house generating units:
Four adjustable blade propeller-type turbines: 36,000 hp, 74.5-feet head, 128.6 rpm
Four generators @ 23,750 kw each
Total generating capacity: 95 megawatts
Turbine generator manufacturer: General Electric Co.
Engineering and construction: Stone & Webster/Chas. T. Main, Inc.

Eel Ladders
In the spring of 2010, Dominion Energy installed two eel ladders on its Roanoke Rapids Hydro station to allow American eels to continue their journey to their historic habitat in the Roanoke River basin. View a video for details.

Recreation Resources

A wide variety of recreational resources are available on or near Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids Lake.

NC Hydrostation Information