A PPL Corporation subsidiary will renovate and recommission its Orono, Maine, hydroelectric plant, adding 20,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year of clean, renewable electricity to the region’s power supplies.
The new renewable energy is another benefit of PPL’s previously announced agreement with a coalition of government agencies, private conservation groups and the Penobscot Indian Nation to restore historic runs of Atlantic salmon and other species of fish to the Penobscot River.
PPL expects the plant’s generators to begin serving customers by 2009, according to Dennis J. Murphy, vice president and chief operating officer of PPL’s eastern fossil and hydrogeneration.
“Expanding our renewable energy capabilities is a priority for PPL,” -Murphy said. “This new source of -clean electricity will be a significant benefit for the environment and for the region.”
PPL plans to spend more than $500 million on hydroelectric expansions in Pennsylvania, Maine and Montana over the next several years. The company also will spend $100 million on renewable energy projects, including solar energy installations and plants that generate electricity from the waste methane produced at landfills.
The Orono project is the second expansion of renewable energy output by PPL. In May 2006, PPL expanded the output of its Medway, West Enfield and Stillwater hydroelectric plants by a total of 10,000 MWh per year.
The Orono plant stopped producing electricity in 1996 after the failure of its penstocks, large aging wooden pipes that carried water from the Penobscot River to the powerhouse. PPL purchased the inoperative plant from the Bangor Hydro Electric Co. in 1999 as part of a package of generation and other assets.
The $4.7 million recommissioning project will include building a new concrete penstock to direct water to the plant, where it will move turbines and turn the electricity generators. The reactivated Orono plant will provide enough electricity to power 1,800 homes.