I had the pleasure of visiting our High Rock Lake Hydro Electric Plant at the end of this month on a tour arranged by the Yadkin River Keepers and hosted by Eagle Creek Renewable Energy that manages our lake, shoreline, and power generation plant.
Our tour guide was Ken McRae who is the Maintenance Coordinator for this power plant operated by the US company Eagle Creek Renewable Energy (ECRE) licensed by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). ECRE is a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), an international holding company.
If you look closely above Ken's head in the upper left corner of this photo you will see debris hanging from power line...The public can fish along the downstream shoreline and here is a closeup of what happens to your prize fishing lures if you cast too high!
You should also know if you choose to fish along the shoreline you will be competing against our lakes most expert feathered fishermen; White Cranes, Giant Blue Herons, Osprey and Bald Eagles.
The white water in the lower part of this picture represents a special addition to the dam of a special turbine installed by the Eagle Creek group, a Dissolved Oxygen (DO) generator that adds oxygen into the downstream flow of water. The Oxygen levels are monitored by a permanently anchored boat to assure the water quality is measured and constantly maintained.
The power plant has a licensed capacity to generate 32,910 kilo watts which is then purchased by Duke Energy for use by its customers. The High Rock Dam is not designed to control the lake levels, rather it maintains water pressure to drive the three gravity fed electrical generators and has gates that are raised for maintenance twice a year as needed and deal with the inflow from the Yadkin River during spring thaw. The dam is not licensed or designed for direct overflow release of water and the our High Rock Lake shoreline depth is primarily controlled and affected by heavy rain or drought conditions. In the case of severe drought conditions the power generation can be shut down.
The High Rock Dam spans the Davidson County and Rowan County sides of the lake. There is a primitive campground on the Rowan side, one of the portage access areas to kayak enthusiasts, a 125 mile trek from the Yadkin River, across the lakes leading to the ocean via the Pee Dee River. Please note this is a primitive campsite with neither water or latrine facilities to accomodate overnight "paddling" enthusiasts. You can learn more about this kayak adventure by visiting www.yadkinriverkeeper.org
The above picture is a view of the Rowan County side where the three primitive campsites are available to kayak enthusiasts (first come, first serve) via a challenging uphill portage entrance to carry your kayak around the dam.
In addition to thanking Ken McRae for leading our tour of the power generation plant I want to thank Karen Baldwin (Eagle Creek Renewable Energy) for hosting our tour and Edgar Miller (Executive Director Yadkin River Keepers) for arranging this tour.