The Claytor Hydroelectric Project, owned and operated by Appalachian Power Company, is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as Project No. 739. Appalachian is one of a number of operating utility companies that comprise the integrated American Electric Power (AEP) system. Appalachian has filed in its respective states to do business as American Electric Power.

The hydropower generated at the Claytor Project is a clean, renewable, and reliable energy source.

The Claytor Project, built in 1939, is located in southwestern Virginia on the New River in Pulaski County. The Project is operated to generate electricity, which is merged with power being generated at Appalachian's other hydro and gas and coal-fired power plants in Virginia and West Virginia. The power generated by Appalachian helps meet the electricity needs of millions of people in seven states from Virginia to Michigan.

Hydro generation at the Project avoids carbon emissions from fossil fuel generation. Because water at the Project is replenished by hydrologic cycle and is essentially infinite, hydropower is renewable. Additionally, the Project's operational flexibility, specifically its load-following and peaking capabilities help maintain the stability of the electric grid.

Construction of Claytor Dam was completed in 1939, and since the time the facility has been used to generate electricity continuously, except for periods of scheduled maintenance. The Project was first licensed on May 22, 1943, effective July 1, 1931, for a period of fifty years. The Project as again licensed in 1980 for a period effective July 1, 1981 and terminating June 30, 2011. More recently, the Project was licensed on December 7, 2011 for a period of thirty years. The effective date of the license is December 1, 2011.

Historical image of dam
Claytor Hydro, circa 1949

The Claytor Project consists of a concrete gravity dam with gated spillway, integral intake and powerhouse, switching equipment, appurtenant facilities, and the reservoir.

The Project powerhouse is located on the right bank of the river and houses four turbine generating units. All four turbines are of the Francis type rated at 26,000 horsepower and directly connected to four AC generators rated at 18,750 kW. The total installed capacity of the Project is 75MW. The total hydraulic capacity of the Project turbines is 10,000 cfs.

The Claytor Project reservoir (Claytor Lake) backs water a distance of 21.67 miles. The reservoir has a surface area of 4,472 acres at the normal full pool elevation of 1846.0 feet and approximately 100 miles of shoreline. The storage capacity of the reservoir is estimated to be 225,000 acre feet. The maximum and mean depths of the reservoir are approximately 115 and 49 feet, respectively.