American Municipal Power has applied for a permit from the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a hydroelectric generating plant on the West Virginia side of the Willow Island Locks and Dam.
The plant is one of five AMP is developing at navigation dams along the Ohio River, and the first along the river’s border with West Virginia. Three of the seven navigation dams on the Ohio River along the West Virginia border have hydro plants already: the Hannibal Locks and Dam at New Martinsville, W.Va., the Belleville Locks and Dam between Parkersburg and Ravenswood, W.Va., and the Racine Locks and Dam at Racine, Ohio. The Hannibal and Belleville plants are on the West Virginia side of the river. The Racine plant is on the Ohio side. AMP developed and operates the Belleville plant.
AMP has three Ohio River hydroelectric plants at the Meldahl Locks and Dam above Cincinnati, the Cannelton Locks and Dam near Cannelton, Ind., and the Smithland Locks and Dam above Paducah, Ky. Construction started at Cannelton last year and at the other two dams this year.
AMP also plans to develop hydroelectric facilities at the Pike Island Locks and Dam near Wheeling and the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam below Gallipolis, Ohio.
According to a public notice issued by the Huntington District, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensed a hydroelectric project at Willow Island on Sept. 27, 1989. AMP proposes to build a powerhouse with two horizontal turbine generating units with a total capacity of 35 megawatts. Power generated by the turbines would be transmitted through a proposed 1.6-mile-long transmission line that would connect with an existing underground transmission line.
During construction, AMP would provide a temporary recreation and fishing access area. After construction, a new recreation and fishing area would open.
On its Web site, AMP describes itself as a nonprofit leader in wholesale power supply for municipal electric systems. It is owned and governed by its members. It purchases, generates and distributes electricity for 128 publicly owned utilities serving more than 570,000 customers in six states -- Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Michigan and Virginia.