Unit 1 begins commercial operation at AMP’s 35-MW Willow Island hydropower plant

The first generating unit at American Municipal Power’s 35-MW Willow Island hydropower plant began commercial operation earlier this month, the Ohio-based utility announced.

Unit 1, manufactured by Voith Hydro, is one of two 17.5 MW bulb-type turbines that will eventually serve AMP’s 79 member communities in a five state region.

The hydroelectric project — located at the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Willow Island Locks and Dam — is one of four being developed by AMP along the Ohio River. Together, the facilities will add more than 300 MW of cumulative power to the company’s generating fleet.

“AMP’s hydro projects represent a continued commitment to sustainable generation and a diversified member portfolio,” said Marc Gerken, AMP president and CEO. “These facilities will help insulate us from future carbon regulations and will be a long-term benefit for our members.”

AMP’s other Ohio River projects include the 105-MW Meldahl, 84-MW Cannelton and 72-MW Smithland plants.

Flooding along the river have slowed progress at some of the plants, though Gerken said units at each of the facilities should continue to come on line through the spring.

“Although the recent river flooding has caused individual unit testing delays at Cannelton, Willow Island and Meldahl, we are projecting without further delays that these eight turbines and generators will be in commercial operation by the end of March 2016,” Gerken said. “Additionally, testing has so far yielded favorable performance.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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