Lake Norman was created by Duke Energy in 1963 when it dammed the Catawba River and built the massive Cowans Ford Dam at the border between Mecklenburg and Lincoln Counties along NC Highway 73 in Huntersville.
Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. It is also known as the "inland sea" as it boats 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of more than 32,475 acres, making it almost as large as the other ten lakes on the Catawba River combined. It was named after former Duke Power president Norman Cocke.
The water of Lake Norman is used in two ways to provide electricity to our region. It is used to power the generators at Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station and by Marshall Steam Station and McGuire Nuclear Station to cool the steam that drives the turbines. This steam is condensed back to water so it can be pumped back through the plants and used again. The Cowans Ford Hydro Station has a 350 megawatt capacity and is the largest conventional hydro station owned by Duke Energy.