Conowingo Dam: Keeping the lights on for a generation
Motorists who travel along Route 1 between Harford and Cecil counties across the Susquehanna River over the mile-long Conowingo Dam might wonder what’s inside the large facility that’s owned and operated by Exelon Generation Corporation.
The Conowingo Hydroelectric Station, which includes the Conowingo Dam and Powerhouse, took two years to construct and started generating power in 1928. The dam is one of four hydroelectric dams along the Susquehanna. Its turbines produce 572 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 159,000 households.
Entering the plant is like stepping back in time into an oddly beautiful scene. The giant turbine hall contains over 3000 windows overlooking seven enormous turbines. Morning light floods the large open space, which faces the river.
Exelon general manager Archie Gleason states, “The Conowingo Dam is undoubtedly a special place that is reflected in its historic heritage. The fact that so much of the original structure, equipment and fixtures still exist in such pristine, working condition is a testament to the quality and care that was taken when the dam was built in the late 1920’s. There is so much rich history preserved here that makes the Conowingo Dam much more than the concrete, steel and glass you see – it is a reflection of the shared memories and goals of the generations who worked