COLUMBUS, OH: American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is pleased to announce the completion of the organization’s recent hydropower development efforts – the largest of its kind in the United States. AMP constructed four run-of-the-river hydropower plants at existing locks and dams along the Ohio River in Kentucky and West Virginia. The projects are delivering more than 300 MW of new renewable energy to 83 participating AMP member systems across five states. The projects consist of 11 separate hydro turbines and represent nearly $3 billion in investment. The development effort took 10 years including licensing, permitting and construction.
“These valuable assets are part of AMP’s commitment to further diversify our power supply portfolio,” said Marc Gerken, PE, President/CEO of AMP. “These facilities will provide long-term value and reliability to our participating members, while providing further diversification and a level of insulation from future regulation.”
Hydroelectric generation has long provided a number of benefits, including renewable energy, favorable capacity factors, low operation and maintenance costs, and an 80-100 year lifespan. The recent Hydropower Vision Report by the U.S. Department of Energy (report) indicated that the United States has the potential to increase capacity from hydro by nearly 50 percent by 2050.
The hydropower projects include the Smithland plant, the Cannelton plant and the Willow Island plant, along with the Meldahl plant. AMP developed the Meldahl plant in partnership with AMP member, the City of Hamilton, Ohio. Combined, the projects employed more than 1,800 workers during construction, employ more than 35 full-time operators, and provide a significant boost to the local economies and region.
“Adding these new hydro plants is part of our overall long-term commitment to sustainable generation. It also represents the further diversification of our generating portfolio, which includes investments in the Prairie State Energy Campus, the AMP Fremont Energy Center, and our new solar projects, all of which reduce risk and lower our overall exposure to a single fuel source. The four new hydro plants represent approximately 10 percent of the members’ annual needs,” said Gerken.
AMP’s generation asset development effort started in the mid- 2000s as part of the organization’s strategic response to the dysfunctional wholesale electric markets. That response included the development of new renewable and fossil fuel generation to provide AMP members’ systems with options to add generation to their portfolios.
“We are proud of the projects that have come online. As a non-profit, member-owned organization with municipal electric members in nine states, we are driven by our continued efforts to reflect the values of our member communities. On behalf of the AMP Board of Trustees and our team, AMP offers our appreciation to the numerous individuals that helped these projects come to fruition,” said Gerken.
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