Proposed hydroelectric power plants on Mon River under federal review

Posted January 6, 2016

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

A federal government agency is accepting public comments on a Boston firm’s application to build 13 power plants at dams along Pittsburgh’s three rivers, including four along the Monongahela River in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is defining the scope of the FFP New Hydro projects before it decides if they are ready for a final environmental analysis as early as December 2016, FERC spokewoman Celeste Miller said Tuesday.

“There’s no way to know when construction could begin,” Miller said.

That would depend on the number and scope of comments that are submitted from local, state and federal agencies and others with a stake in the power plants, she said.

FFP and its affiliates applied to the commission in February and March 2014 to build the “run-of-the-river” plants on federal property at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams along the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers between West Virginia and Beaver County.

Federal records show the work would involve the local construction of large concrete powerhouses at: Locks and Dam No. 4 in Charleroi; Maxwell Lock and Dam near Fredericktown; Grays Landing Lock and Dam in Greene; and Point Marion Lock and Dam in Point Marion. The 13 plants in Pennsylvania would occupy 41.2 acres of property.

Those dams and others planned by FFP in five states would generate enough electricity to power 80,000 households.

A company spokesman said FFP hopes to have the powerhouses under construction in 2017. The company has not released information on the amount of money that would be invested in the power plants, he said. No one else was in its office to comment Tuesday.

The commission recommends that comments be given electronically at www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp.