Colonel Fred B. Ryons, who served in the US Army Corps of Engineers in World War I, decided to go into the hydroelectric business in the 1920's. In 1928, he purchased land on the Occoquan River upstream of the town of Occoquan, then built a dam between the lower Davis Ford and Wolf Run Shoals Road. He designed the dam to include six generators, but only four were installed.
The hydropower generated at Ryons Dam was sold to customers in Prince William County, because the Bull Run hydroelectric dam near modern-day Hemlock Overlook served Fairfax customers in the Clifton area. Ryon generated power from about 1930 to 1947, when what is now Doninion Power began to provide cheaper electricity generated at large facilities such as Possum Point.
When the Occoquan Reservoir was built and then expanded in the 1950's, most of Ryons Dam was submerged. Today it serves as a reference point for crew teams and boaters on the reservoir... and a reminder that technological change can result in significant land use changes.
Questions to Explore This Week
- from what sources (locations and fuel types) does Northern Virginia get its energy?
- if overhead powerlines are so controversial... what's the alternative?
- are waste-to-energy plants a realistic option for the future in Northern Virginia?
400 years ago, a simple exhaust system...
"baseload" and "peaking" energy source
1) How Does Fuel Get to Northern Virginia?
- MAPP Overview
- Potomac River Generating Plant
- How the Power Grid Works
- Reliability Rules
- PJM Overview
- Profile of an Electric System
- map of territory served by PJM Interconnection
- Dominion Applies to Join PJM Interconnection
2) Northern Virginia Power Plants
- History of Lake Jackson (another former hydroelectric project)
- Power Plants - Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
- Electric Power Generating Units and Nameplate Capacity by Primary Fuel Type and Regulation Status (how many in NOVA?)
- Alexandria Pushes to Shut Mirant (Washington Post, March 21, 2006)
- Energy Legal Blog: Reliability v. Health: Neighboring States Battle over Dirty but Needed Generator
- FERC to Mirant: Keep Power Flowing to Nation's Capital
- Sierra Club presentation advocating closure of Potomac River Generating Station
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry page on Mirant Potomac River Generating Station, Alexandria, Virginia and map of air sampling stations
- DEQ background on Mirant Potomac River Generating Station in Alexandria, Virginia
3) Power Lines Transmitting Electricity
- Electric Energy Transmission Lines- Virginia and Neighbouring States
- Electric Energy Transmission Lines - Virginia
- Meadow Brook to Loudoun 500 kV Line (Dominion Power site)
- Dominion Virginia Power Prefers Existing Corridor Route For Northern Virginia 500kV Transmission Line (Dominion Power site)
- map of preferred route
- Northern Virginia: Power line, or power down
- Background: The 500-kV Transmission Line (PEC site)
- Interactive Map: National Designation Benefits Nation's Oldest Dirtiest Power Plants (PEC site)
- Power Line Could Undo Open-Land Conservation
- Municipal Solid Waste is Burned in Fairfax County (Arlington built its incinerator in the mid-1950's)
- Energy Resource Recovery Facility
- Fairfax Stands to Lose Millions if Incinerator Loses Customers (garbage disposal is a business, and the Supreme Court blocked efforts of local governments to require local garbage disposal)
5) Nuclear Waste in Virginia