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Construction begins on Holtwood hydropower project expansion

Construction is under way on a US$434 million expansion of the 108-MW Holtwood hydropower plant on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River.

Preliminary construction of a new powerhouse began in January 2010. The project, which will add 125 megawatts of capacity, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013.

The 100-year-old Holtwood plant is owned and operated by Allentown, Pa.-based PPL Corp. The plant was placed into service in October 1910.

The expansion, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in November 2009, is expected to create 200 “green energy” construction jobs over the next three years. Additional jobs will be created at York, Pa.-based Voith Hydro, which is manufacturing the turbine-generators for the Holtwood expansion.

The expansion also calls for improvements to fish passage at Holtwood Dam, enabling more migratory fish to reach upstream spawning areas along the Susquehanna and its tributaries.

A ground breaking ceremony is scheduled for May 3, 2010. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell and U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., are expected to attend.

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