FERC issues final enviro report on 50-MW hydro project on Ohio River

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 23 released a final environmental assessment on an application for a major original license for the 50-MW Robert C. Byrd Hydroelectric Project, to be located on the Ohio River at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam.

The site is approximately 12.7 miles south of the confluence of the Ohio River and the Kanawha River, nine miles south of the Town of Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio.

In March 2011, the City of Wadsworth, Ohio, filed an application for a license to construct and operate this project. The Corps’ RC Byrd Locks and Dam impound a reservoir (pool) that extends 41.7 miles upstream on the Ohio River to the Racine Locks and Dam.  The normal pool elevation is 538 feet above mean sea level (msl). At this elevation, the surface area of the RC Byrd Pool is 12,600 acres.  The Greenup Pool, which has a normal surface elevation of 515.0 feet msl and a surface area of 11,200 acres, is located downstream of the RC Byrd Locks and Dam. The Greenup Pool extends 61.8 miles downstream to the Corps’ Greenup Locks and Dam. 

The RC Byrd Locks and Dam (formally Gallipolis Locks and Dam), were constructed between 1935 and 1937. The Corps began replacing the locks in 1987 and completed reconstruction in 1993. The dam underwent rehabilitation that began in 1992 and was completed in 2002. 

The proposed project would be constructed on the Ohio shoreline, adjacent to the right abutment of the existing RC Byrd Locks and Dam. It would consist of the following new facilities: a 1,200-foot-long intake channel conveying flow to two equally sized intakes approximately 60 feet wide by 73 feet high; a trash rack located in front of each of the generating unit intakes, with a bar spacing of approximately 8 inches; a reinforced concrete powerhouse measuring approximately 258 feet long by 145 feet wide by 110 feet high, and housing two bulb-type turbine generator units with a total installed capacity of 50 MW; a 900-foot-long tailrace channel; and a 2.41-mile-long, 138-kV transmission line. It would have an estimated average annual generation of 266,000 megawatt-hours. 

The transmission line would cross the Ohio River from the proposed power plant and traverse private land and Corps land within Mason County, West Virginia. The transmission line would cross the river supported on steel lattice towers, and beyond the river crossing, would be strung on wood pole structures to a point of connection at an existing American Electric Power substation near Apple Grove, West Virginia.

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.