AMP, Hamilton ask FERC for extra time on 105-MW hydro project

Citing project delays, the City of Hamilton, Ohio, and American Municipal Power on May 17 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for two extra years, until June 25, 2015, to complete their Meldahl Hydroelectric Project.

The license for the project issued by FERC provides that construction must be completed by June 25, 2013, which is five years from the date that FERC issued the license.

Section 13 of the Federal Power Act provides that the commission may extend the project completion deadline where the licensee has carried on project construction “in good faith and with reasonable diligence” and that granting the extension is not contrary to the public interest. Licensees have satisfied this condition. Since the commencement of construction, the licensees said they have made significant progress and coordinated closely with the FERC’s Regional Hydroelectric Office in Chicago. Licensees have submitted to FERC monthly construction reports since the commencement of construction.

At this point, 86% of the powerhouse concrete is in place (totaling 84,103 cubic yards), 86% of the steel reinforcement has been placed or received (totaling 10,544,699 pounds) and rotor hub pre-assembly is in progress. The project is currently projected to be completed in November 2014. However, the licensees are requesting an extension to June 2015 as a precaution, in the event of unexpected delays.

FERC in June 2008 issued the license for the 105-MW Meldahl project, located on the Ohio River near the City of Augusta, Bracken County, Ky. The project will occupy about 81 acres of federal lands at the existing Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Captain Anthony Meldahl locks and dam.

Said the American Municipal Power website about Meldahl: “The project will divert water from the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Meldahl Locks and Dam through bulb turbines to generate an average gross annual output of approximately 558,000 MWh. The site will include an intake approach channel, a reinforced concrete powerhouse, and a tailrace channel. The powerhouse will house three horizontal 35 MW bulb type turbine and generating units with a FERC licensed estimated total rated capacity of 105 MW. The licensed transmission path includes five miles of 138 kV line.”

In July 2009, AMP and the city of Hamilton signed an agreement for the development of the project. AMP will build the plant and other AMP members will receive 48.6% of the output. Upon commercial operation, AMP will obtain a 48.6% share of the existing Greenup hydro project, currently owned by the city of Hamilton. The 72 MW Greenup plant is located on the Ohio River at the Greenup Locks & Dam, near Portsmouth, Ohio.

Excavation and cofferdam construction began May 2010 by Angelo Iafrate Construction of Warren, Mich. The powerhouse construction contract was executed in a joint venture with Alberici Constructors and Baker Concrete, the AMP website said. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.