Grand Coulee Dam, Coulee Dam

3.9
#76 of 541 in Parks in Washington State
Grand Coulee Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, built to produce hydroelectric power and provide irrigation water. Constructed between 1933 and 1942, Grand Coulee originally had only two powerhouses. The third powerhouse, completed in 1974 to increase energy production, makes Grand Coulee the largest power station in the United States by nameplate-capacity at 6,809 MW. However, in terms of yearly power production, Grand Coulee places fifth after a number of nuclear facilities to the south, like Palo Verde west of Phoenix. This is because river flow varies throughout the year. For example, while the dam may generate at nameplate-capacity in the spring, decreased river flow in the fall means less power can be generated the rest of the year, resulting in a lower capacity factor.The proposal to build the dam was the focus of a bitter debate during the 1920s between two groups. One group wanted to irrigate the ancient Grand Coulee with a gravity canal while the other pursued a high dam and pumping scheme. The dam supporters won in 1933, but for fiscal reasons the initial design was for a "low dam" 290ft tall which would generate electricity without supporting irrigation. That year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and a consortium of three companies called MWAK (Mason-Walsh-Atkinson Kier Company) began construction. After visiting the construction site in August 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began endorsing the "high dam" design which, at high, would provide enough electricity to pump water into the Columbia basin for irrigation. The high dam was approved by Congress in 1935 and completed in 1942. The first waters over-topped Grand Coulee's spillway on of that year.
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  • The dam tour: ========== I have always been a fan of big infrastructure and love taking tours of things like this. The tour lasts about 50 minutes, but that includes about ten minutes of security scre...  more »
  • The staff at the visitors center directed us across the bridge to get to the beginning of the tour. As can be imagined, the security here is no joke. Everyone must pass through a metal detector and co...  more »
  • Tech. very interesting, grandiose building, unfortunately somewhat informative visitor centre, dam only by means of a time-consuming tour secluded, walkable,.
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4 days in Chelan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Coulee Dam BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Coulee Dam BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Chelan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Chelan BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Chelan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Coulee Dam BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Coulee Dam BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Chelan SEE PLAN January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Coulee Dam BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 18 days in British Columbia & Coulee Dam BY A USER FROM CANADA August, relaxing, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: August, relaxing, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Chelan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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