PPL adds 125 MW of hydro capacity at Holtwood in Pennsylvania

PPL Holtwood announced Dec. 2 the completion of a new, 125-MW powerhouse at its Holtwood hydroelectric facility along the Susquehanna River in south-central Pennsylvania.

The powerhouse is part of a $440m expansion project to boost the plant’s generating capacity and improve fish passage over the century-old dam. The new, state-of-the-art powerhouse sits adjacent to the century-old powerhouse and more than doubles the plant’s generating capacity from about 108 MW to more than 230 MW.

“This project, one of the largest expansions of its kind in the U.S., represents a major investment in clean, reliable, renewable energy,” said Victor Lopiano, senior vice president of Fossil & Hydro Generation for PPL. “I thank everyone who was involved in design and construction of the new powerhouse. This project highlights the potential to upgrade existing hydroelectric facilities and expand capacity without the need to build new dams. The new facility’s two 62.5-megawatt turbines are capable of generating more electricity than the 12 existing turbines, combined.”

Lopiano said the hydroelectric expansion further strengthens the diversity of PPL’s competitive generation fleet within the mid-Atlantic region. The fleet includes hydroelectric power, nuclear power, natural gas and coal-fired power plants, along with other forms of renewable energy.         

The company expects to qualify for federal grants made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The incentives were a key factor in the company’s decision to build the facility and are expected to exceed $100m.

Holtwood’s existing powerhouse, started in 1906 and completed in 1910, continued to operate throughout the project and will continue to generate power moving forward.

PPL Holtwood is a subsidiary of PPL Generation and part of Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL).

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.