PPL plans 2009 construction for 125-MW Holtwood Expansion

PPL Corp. announced Jan. 17 it hopes to begin construction in 2009 on the 125-MW Holtwood Expansion, an addition to the 107.2-MW Holtwood hydroelectric project on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty called PPL’s application to advance the expansion project a milestone in clean energy production.

�We’ve worked closely with PPL to craft this proposal in a way that helps meet our energy needs, while also addressing the environmental and ecological considerations associated with this kind of expansion project,” McGinty told a news conference. “Clean energy is an imperative for our environment, our economy, and our security.�

If PPL begins building as planned in 2009, the $300 million expansion would begin generating electricity in 2012. Construction would involve building a new two-unit powerhouse on the site of a former coal-fired power plant adjacent to the 10-unit Holtwood powerhouse. Construction is contingent upon federal, state, and local approvals.

PPL Holtwood LLC, a unit of Pennsylvania-based utility PPL Corp. that owns and operates the project, is planning the expansion. (HNN 2/14/07) The company said it is committed to improving fish passage, particularly for American Shad, and mitigating environmental issues.

The average annual historical generation of the Holtwood project is 594,849 MWh. The expansion would add 360,834 MWh in incremental generation.

DEP said it would work with PPL over the next year to establish minimum stream flows through Holtwood dam to ensure water quality standards are met, to enhance recreational opportunities on the Susquehanna River, and to clarify operational issues during droughts.

PPL seeks 16-year extension of original Holtwood license

PPL Holtwood LLC filed a license amendment application for the project (No. 1881) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Dec. 19, 2007. In addition to seeking approval for the capacity increase, PPL Holtwood asked FERC to extend the term of its license 16 years. The existing license to operate Holtwood expires Sept. 1, 2014.

�In recognition of the amounts of money it expects to invest in this redevelopment, PPL respectfully requests that the license term be extended by an additional 16 years, through Aug. 31, 2030, which would result in a 50-year license term for the existing license, the maximum permitted under the statute,� PPL Holtwood Counsel David Poe said.

PPL donates 3,500 project acres to land conservancy

PPL announced in December the donation of 3,500 acres of company land around the Holtwood plant to the Lancaster County Conservancy, which is to preserve the land as open space and enhance its benefits to the public.

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