Explore More Energy
help teacher resources contact us
web sites glossary careers explore more
profiles uses issues viewpoints


Powerhouse! The Grand Coulee Dam

The Grand Coulee Dam, located on the Columbia River in Central Washington, is the largest hydropower producer in the United States and the third largest in the world.

  • The Grand Coulee Dam is the largest concrete structure in the U.S., made from 12 million cubic yards of concrete.
  • The Grand Coulee shares the river with ten other U.S. dams, and is the first dam encountered on the Columbia after the river enters the U.S. from Canada.
  • Lake Roosevelt, the reservoir created by the dam, contains 9-million acre-feet of water and stretches over 150 miles back to the border.

One of the dam’s main functions is to generate electricity. Grand Coulee’s generating facilities include four powerhouses, with a total of 24 main generators, three station service generators and six pump/generators. The combined power output of these generators equals 6480 MW which makes the dam a major provider of electrical power to the Northwest.