Hydropower

PPL To Expand 34-MW Rainbow Hydro Plant, NHA Conference Coming Up

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved PPL Montana’s request to nearly double the amount of renewable electricity produced at its 34-megawatt (MW) Rainbow hydroelectric plant on the Missouri River. The project, scheduled to begin next year, would include the construction of a new powerhouse with a 60-MW turbine that has an improved, fish friendly design.

“We appreciate FERC’s thorough review of our request to amend our Rainbow operating license, an important step in the redevelopment of our Rainbow hydroelectric plant,” said David Hoffman, director of External Affairs for PPL Montana. “This project will add renewable energy, enhance river fisheries and help meet the region’s need for new sources of clean, reliable electricity generation,” he said. “It’s part of our commitment to make sound financial investments, while operating our generating plants safely and conserving river resources.”

Starting in early 2010, PPL Montana will begin construction of a new powerhouse. All eight of the smaller existing units at Rainbow Dam will be eventually replaced with a single 60-megawatt unit.

The hydroelectric industry will undoubtedly make up a large part of any federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The National Hydropower Association (NHA) will be discussing just how big a role the industry can play when it holds its conference, “Tapping the Future: Hydropower, Energy Demand, and Water Supply.”

At the opening plenary session, Mark Crisson, CEO of the American Public Power Association; Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; and Thomas Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, will discuss U.S. electricity policy as it related to hydro energy. These and other industry leaders will assess critical issues in the hydropower industry and evaluate opportunities and challenges ahead for hydropower. NHA also plans to honor Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., with its Legislator of the Year award at the opening session.

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