Unit 1 at American Municipal Power's Willow Island hydroelectric plant in West Virginia began commercial operation on Jan. 4 and is supplying the 79 participating AMP member communities in five states with power, AMP said on Jan. 12.
Efforts continue at the Willow Island site on commissioning of Unit 2, AMP noted.
"AMP's hydro projects represent a continued commitment to sustainable generation and a diversified member portfolio," said Marc Gerken, AMP president and CEO, in a news release. "These facilities will help insulate us from future carbon regulations and will be a long-term benefit for our members."
Combined, AMP's four hydro projects under various stages of construction and commissioning will add more than 300 megawatts of new hydropower, which represents the largest deployment of new run-of-the-river hydro in the nation.
The Willow Island hydroelectric facility will add 35 MW of new, renewable generation to the region and is located near St. Marys, West Virginia. The Willow Island facility is one of three facilities under AMP's Phase 1 Hydroelectric Project, with the other two being Cannelton located on the Ohio River near Hawesville, Kentucky, and Smithland, located near Smithland, Kentucky.
AMP's Meldahl hydroelectric facility will become the largest hydroelectric power plant on the Ohio River with an estimated capacity of 105 MW. Meldahl is a run-of-the-river project on the Captain Anthony Meldahl Locks and Dam located near Maysville, Kentucky, approximately an hour southeast of Cincinnati.
AMP owns the Meldahl project through a separate wholly-owned limited liability company. AMP is developing the project with the member community of Hamilton, Ohio, which originally procured the development license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Hamilton retains the rights for a 51 percent share of the energy output from the facility, with AMP taking the remaining output for the 48 other AMP members participating in the project.
Gerken said that although recent river flooding has caused individual unit testing delays at Cannelton, Willow Island and Meldahl, "we are projecting without further delays that these eight turbines/generators will be in commercial operation by the end of March 2016. Additionally, testing has so far yielded favorable performance."
Eight AMP member communities operate locally-owned hydroelectric facilities. These include the cities of Bryan and Hamilton in Ohio, Bedford, Danville and Martinsville in Virginia, Union City in Michigan and New Martinsville in West Virginia. These facilities have a combined capacity of more than 132 MW.
AMP, which is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, arranges wholesale power supply for 132 publicly owned utilities serving more than 637,000 customers in nine states — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland and Delaware.