Expansions of Holtwood hydropower project complete

PPL Holtwood has completed work on a 125-MW powerhouse at the Holtwood hydropower plant, the company announced earlier this week.

Holtwood‘s new powerhouse sits adjacent to an old powerhouse, and more than doubles the project’s generating capacity from about 108 MW to more than 230 MW with a pair of Voith-manufactured 62.5 MW turbine units.

“This project, one of the largest expansions of its kind in the U.S., represents a major investment in clean, reliable, renewable energy,” said PPL Senior Vice President of Fossil & Hydro Generation Victor Lopiano. “This project highlights the potential to upgrade existing hydroelectric facilities and expand capacity without the need to build new dams.”

In addition to adding generating capacity, the US$440 million expansion is also expected to improve fish passage along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

PPL Holtwood said it expects to qualify for federal grants made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The incentives were a key factor in the company’s decision to build the expansion and are expected to exceed $100 million.

Construction of the company created more than 300 jobs and required interactions with a number of organizations to help protect area wildlife, including bald eagles. These efforts helped earn PPL Holtwood an Outstanding Stewards of America’s Water award from the National Hydropower Association.

The company said final grading and site work is now being completed, though hunting restrictions on PPL Holtwood land remain in effect.

Work on the expansion project began in 2010.

Holtwood’s original powerhouse was completed in 1910. The dam was the longest in the United States when it was built, stretching nearly 2,400 feet long.

PPL Holtwood is a subsidiary of PPL Generation and part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL).

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