Laurel River Dam

Laurel River DamLaurel River Lake is a key project in the development of the Cumberland River Basin.  The lake is located in southeastern Kentucky, encompassing portions of Laurel and Whitley Counties.  The Laurel Dam rises 282 feet above the stream bed.  The combination earth and rock fill dam is 1,420 feet long with a hydroelectric power generating plant. 

At normal summer pool (Elevation 1015) the 19.2-mile long lake with its 206 miles of shoreline contains 5,600 surface areas of water. 

Average annual energy output is 67 million kilowatt hours.


Hydropower operations at Laurel River Lake differ from those at other projects along the Cumberland River System.  East Kentucky Power recieves all the hydropower generated at Laurel and they determine when to run the unit .  The Corps doesn't know until after the fact and has limited control over scheduling releases at Laurel.

SEPA (Southeastern Power Authority) is the Corps main contact concerning generations at Laurel.  They are required to generate at least a 1/2 hour every other day and at least 700 MWH per week.  The water control manual says that the mean sea level (MSL) elevation should be maintained as close to guide curve as possible; however, generations can be made on an as needed basis.