FERC approves 1,260-acre conservation transfer from 233-MW Holtwood hydropower complex

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the proposed transfer of 1,260 acres from the 233-MW Holtwood hydroelectric complex in Pennsylvania to Lancaster County Conservancy for preservation and public use.

Hydro licensee PPL Holtwood, a unit of PPL Corp., requested transfer of the land, which is located along the lower Susquehanna River both upstream and downstream of Holtwood (No. 1881).

PPL is expanding the original 108-MW Holtwood project with the construction of a new 125-MW Holtwood Expansion project nearby. Voith Hydro supplied two turbine-generators to the expansion project in 2012.

PPL Corp. said Feb. 6 that FERC’s decision found the land transfer in the public interest, enjoying broad support from federal, state, and local agencies. PPL Holtwood previously transferred more than 320 acres to the Lancaster County Conservancy in a move that did not require FERC approval.

“This decision paves the way for preservation of this beautiful stretch of land for generations to come,” PPL Generation Vice President Dennis Murphy said. “We’ve been excellent stewards of this land for more than a century. It is home to fantastic views, wildlife habitat, recreational trails, and more.”

PPL Holtwood is to sell the land to the conservancy for about $6 million and then donate the proceeds to a restricted endowment fund that will be used to manage the greenway. PPL said it would not profit from the transfer. In addition, the utility plans to provide an annual donation to the conservancy to support management of the lands.

“LCC is grateful to PPL and the many national, state, and local partners who have supported this wonderful example of a private-public initiative,” Kathie Shirk Gonick, LCC’s director of land protection, said.

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