American Municipal Power’s decade-long effort that added four hydropower projects to the Ohio River has come to an end.
The run-of-river plants, all added to existing locks and dams in Kentucky and West Virginia, together represent one of the largest undertakings in the United States’ hydroelectric sector in recent memory.
The facilities — 76-MW Smithland, 88-MW Cannelton, 44-MW Willow Island and 105-MW Meldahl — cost a close to a combined $3 billion and represent the culmination of 10-years worth of planning, development and construction, during which time 1,800 workers were employed.
“We are proud of the projects that have come on line,” said Marc Gerken, president and CEO of AMP. “As a non-profit, member-owned organization with municipal electric members in nine states, we are driven by our continued efforts to reflect the values of our member communities.”
AMP, based in Columbus, said it began considering the four plants in the mid-2000s “as part of the organization’s strategic response to the dysfunctional wholesale electric markets.”
The hydro projects now contribute about 10% of AMP’s members’ annual needs, while also reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and broadening its portfolio.
“Adding these new hydro plants is part of our overall long-term commitment to sustainable generation,” Gerken said. “These facilities will provide long-term value and reliability to our participating members, while providing further diversification and a level of insulation from future regulation.