Power On The River
Hydroelectric Facility Possible at Pike Island
21 November 2013
By Casey Junkins, Staff Writer
WHEELING - Two companies believe they can generate up to 256,000
megawatt-hours of renewable power per year by building a
hydroelectric plant at the Pike Island Locks and Dam.
As American Electric Power prepares to retire Marshall County's
coal-fired Kammer Plant by the end of next year, both American
Municipal Power and Free Flow Power Project are seeking permission
from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build this
American Municipal Power is the company that operates the New
Martinsville Hydroelectric Plant at the Hannibal Locks and Dam,
which began generating power in 1988. According to the company,
the New Martinsville plant is capable of producing 18 megawatts
per hour on each of its two generating turbines.
Two companies have filed preliminary permit applications to
install a hydroelectric power plant at the Pike Island Locks and
Dam that would generate up to 256,000 megawatt-hours of
electricity per year.
New Martinsville Plant Manager Chuck Stora, who has worked at the
plant since it started operating, said the pressure required to
drive the plant's two turbines - 28,000 cubic feet of water per
second - would fill a pair of football field-sized swimming pools
with 10 feet of water in just 10 seconds.
In place since 1963, the Pike Island Locks and Dam spans the Ohio
River just north of the Warwood section of Wheeling on the West
Virginia side and near Yorkville on the Ohio side.
As an advocate for reducing pollution from the burning of fossil
fuels, Wheeling Jesuit University biology professor Ben Stout
called the potential hydroelectric plant "a step in the right
"This energy is being wasted now. The dam is already there with
all of that potential energy just streaming across it," he said.
"Not only would it be environmentally friendly, but it would help
us achieve energy independence."
According to its preliminary plans as noted in a legal ad, AMP
would build a 155-foot wide, 71-foot tall water intake structure
near the Ohio side of the dam, while the project would cover
"several acres of federal lands." The plan would generate up to
256,000 megawatt-hours per year.
For its competing plan, Free Flow Power Project proposes to build
a 225-foot wide, 50-foot long intake facility near the Ohio side
of the dam, which it states would also cover several acres of
federal lands. This plant would generate roughly 225,000
megawatt-hours per year.
Officials with both AMP and Free Flow Power Project could not be
immediately reached for further comment Wednesday. The FERC would
eventually chose one project over the other, if either meets all
of the requirements.
Those who wish to comment on the construction of these possible
hydroelectric plants can do so by mailing them to: Secretary,
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; 888 First St. N.E.;
Washington, D.C. 20426. The comments should include the docket