After years of sitting on the back burner, Hamilton, Ohio, turned up the flame on the development of a new hydroelectric facility on the Ohio River. The city recently filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to obtain a license to build and operate a facility at Meldahl Locks and Dam, downstream from Cincinnati.

Since 1995, Augusta, Ky., one of Hamilton’s rivals in the bid to develop the project, has held the license. After more than 10 years of inactivity, the FERC decided it was “in the public interest” to issue the license to another developer.

In its bid to procure the license, Hamilton has at least one other competitor, Louisville Gas and Electric, a privately owned utility. The advantage goes to Hamilton, however, because federal regulations give preference to municipally owned utilities. And with more than 60,000 customers, Hamilton is Ohio’s largest municipally owned utility provider; it provides electric, gas, water and sewer services to local residents.

The Meldahl facility, if licensed and built, would supersede the Greenup Locks and Dam hydroelectric facility, also owned by the city and currently the largest on the Ohio River. Hamilton city officials expect a decision from FERC on their license request by the end of the year.     EC