Voith, PPL mark completion of expanded Holtwood hydro facility

Voith Hydro in a Jan. 7 statement marked the recent completion of PPL Generation‘s expansion of the Holtwood Hydroelectric facility on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

Voith supplied the turbines, generators, and automation components for the project, which more than doubled the century-old plant’s generating capacity. The $440m project has been noted for its environmental enhancements, including improving both upstream and downstream fish passage, Voith Hydro said.

“Holtwood is a terrific example of how hydropower development can not only provide jobs and clean energy, but improve the environment and surrounding habitats at locks and dams that have existed for decades,” said Voith Hydro President and CEO Kevin Frank. “We are proud to have provided the fish-friendly turbines, generators, and automation equipment for this historic expansion of an iconic hydroelectric facility.”

“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. “This project highlights the potential to upgrade existing hydroelectric facilities and expand capacity without the need to build new dams.”

The new hydro powerhouse was built on the site of a retired coal-fired power plant. In addition to the increased capacity, PPL worked with local, state, and federal stakeholders to improve migratory fish passage, including numerous enhancements to the facility’s fish lift system. The state-of-the-art Kaplan turbines that Voith supplied for Holtwood will enhance downstream fish passage as well.

PPL Holtwood on Dec. 2, 2013, had announced completion of the new, 125-MW powerhouse at its Holtwood hydroelectric facility. 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.

With the project complete, 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. At the time the original powerhouse was built, Holtwood included the longest dam in the U.S – nearly 2,400 feet long.

PPL Holtwood is a subsidiary of PPL Generation and part of PPL Corp. (NYSE: PPL), which owns more than 18,000 MW of generating capacity in the United States and sells energy in key U.S. markets.

Founded in 1867, Voith employs more than 43,000 people, generates EUR 5.7 billion in sales, operates in about 50 countries around the world and is one of the biggest family-owned companies in Europe. Voith Hydro is a Group Division of Voith and is a leading full-line supplier of hydropower equipment. In the U.S., Voith Hydro is headquartered in York, Pa.

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.