FERC approves revival of 125-MW Holtwood Expansion

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a request by PPL Corp. to revive the 125-MW Holtwood Expansion hydroelectric project on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River.

The Pennsylvania utility reapplied to FERC in April, saying the federal government’s economic stimulus package could make the project economically feasible. (HydroWorld 4/10/09)

It had canceled plans in December 2008 to develop the Holtwood Expansion, then listed as 88.3 MW, due to unfavorable economic conditions. The withdrawal of a FERC application effectively canceled the addition to the original 107.2-MW Holtwood hydroelectric project (No. 1881).

PPL said Nov. 3, 2009, that incentives in the federal stimulus package could make the project feasible again by offsetting the factors that caused the company to withdraw its original application. (HydroWorld 2/24/09)

“We continue to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain loan guarantees for the Holtwood project from the federal economic stimulus package,” PPL Senior Vice President Victor Lopiano said. “The loan guarantees will enable us to reduce the overall financing cost for the project to develop additional clean, renewable energy.”

In addition to approving the expansion, FERC agreed to extend Holtwood’s hydropower license expiration to August 2030 from September 2014.

PPL named Walsh Construction of Chicago to be general contractor for the project. It is purchasing turbine-generators from Voith Hydro of York, Pa. PPL said the proposed $440 million project could start construction in February 2010 and finish by spring 2013.

The utility announced in October that construction is under way by its PPL Montana affiliate on a new 58.95-MW Rainbow hydroelectric plant on the Missouri River as part of the 327.85-MW Missouri-Madison project. (HydroWorld 10/29/09) PPL is building a new powerhouse to replace a 35-MW Rainbow plant.

The new Rainbow powerhouse will feature a single vertical shaft Kaplan turbine rated at 62 MW connected to a single vertical shaft generator with a nameplate capacity of 58.95 MW.

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