Hydro Green Energy Wants to Build Hydroelectric Plant on
19 July 2014
By Tory N. Parrish
A Dallas startup could become the first company to operate a
hydroelectric power plant in Allegheny County.
Hydro Green Energy wants to build a 5.2-megawatt, low-impact
hydroelectric plant at the Braddock Locks and Dam on the
Adding power to existing dams is quicker, cheaper and less risky
than building dams, said the Department of Energy, which is
promoting the development of low-impact hydropower at dams.
That's the approach Hydro Green Energy and other companies plan to
If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves Hydro Green's
planned $15 million Braddock project, it would produce enough
power for about 5,250 homes and be the company's first commercial
use of its technology, said Mike Maley, president and CEO.
“We're barely going to be visible, and we're going to have
virtually no environmental impact. That's why we're very
comfortable with our technology,” he said.
A Boston company, Free Flow Power, is seeking approval to build 10
low-impact hydroelectric power stations — including at Allegheny
Lock and Dam No. 2 and at Emsworth Locks and Dam — on the
Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers.
Hydro Green is awaiting final licenses for other projects, similar
to its Braddock proposal, on the Allegheny River near Oakmont and
on the Monongahela River near Morgantown, W.Va. The Braddock
project is further along in the approval process, Maley said.
Hydro Green has 15 projects planned across the country.
Hydropower is the nation's largest renewable energy source for
electricity generation, but it accounted for only about 6 percent
of total generation in 2013, according to the federal Energy
About 2,500 dams provide 78 gigawatts of conventional hydropower
in the United States, but there are more than 80,000 dams that do
not produce electricity, according to a 2012 report from the
Department of Energy.
The Army Corps of Engineers owns the Braddock Locks and Dam. Hydro
Green started its application process in 2011, and hopes to obtain
its license in time to start construction in the first quarter of
2015, Maley said.
“They put you through your paces,” he said. “They make sure that
everything meets every standard possible.”
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff issued an environmental
assessment for the project on June 13 but hasn't set a timeframe
for issuing the license, spokesman Craig Cano said.
Building hydropower plants in Pennsylvania is a smart approach,
said Jay Apt, director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry
“This is a more company-friendly environment, because the
wholesale prices for electricity are higher in our region than
they are in most of the areas where the Mississippi River flows,”
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council supports hydropower
projects that use existing infrastructure, such as the Army Corps'
locks and dams, and projects that will not be used temporarily,
said Lindsay Baxter, a program manager in the council's
Southwestern District office in the Strip District.
“We have the topography and the water resources in Pennsylvania to
support a lot of low-impact hydro,” Baxter said.
Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at
412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6442635-74/energy-power-hydro#ixzz37zYBggwU