Bedford Hydropower Project

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Bedford Hydropower Project
Bedford Hydropower Project is located in Virginia
Bedford Hydropower Project
Location of Bedford Hydropower Project in Virginia
Location Bedford County, Virginia / Amherst County, Virginia, U.S.
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Purpose Hydroelectric, Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Pond
Status In use
Owner(s) Town of Bedford, Virginia
Operator(s) Town of Bedford, Virginia
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Concrete gravity
Impounds James River
Height 19.6 ft (6.0 m)[1]
Power station
Operator(s) Town of Bedford, Virginia
Installed capacity 1 MW
Annual generation 17,681 MWH (2013)[2]
FERC Number: 5596

The Bedford Hydropower Project is a hydroelectric generation facility on the James River near the community of Big Island, Virginia. The project includes a low head structure completely spanning the river; river flow is split into a concrete canal leading to the hydroelectric generation facility and the natural river course. [3]

Dam and hydroelectric plant are located approximately one mile downstream of the larger Cushaw Hydroelectric Project; the address of the project is 7443 Elon Road (Virginia Route 130), Big Island, Virginia. This dam is the middle of three dams in rapid succession; the Big Island Dam is located several miles downstream.

The project consists of a canal along the left bank of the river leading to the buttressed power plant structure and an adjacent run of the river bypass of natural riverbed past the low head dam. A public fishing area is located at the Project upstream of the canal headgates; a canoe portage is also provided.[4]

The project is operated by the Town and is manned at least two hours per day, seven days a week. Additionally, the plant is monitored remotely and an automated call system alerts Town personnel of abnormal conditions.[5]


  1. US Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams; NIDID VA00914
  2. Town of Bedford, “Head Water Benefits Production for 2013 and value of production for use in head water benefits assessments under P-5596”, May 20, 2014; FERC Accession Number 20140520-5142
  3. Town of Bedford, “Bedford Project – FERC 5596; Request for Modification of Minimum Flow in Bypass Reach”; May 20, 2015; FERC Accession Number 20150522-5281
  4. Town of Bedford, “City of Bedford submits public safety plan under P-5596.”, November 05, 2008; FERC Accession Number 20090129-0053.
  5. Town of Bedford, “Town of Bedford, VA notifies FERC that the dam is in good condition and has no recordable accidents for the Town of Bedford Hydro Project under P-559”, December 30, 2013; FERC Accession Number 20140123-0286