29 Mar 2024

Hydroelectric Project Generating Interest in Hancock County

29 Mar 2024  by weirtondailytimes   

MORE POWER — Current Hydro is moving forward with its plans for a hydroelectric project to be located at the New Cumberland Locks and Dam. Once completed in 2027, the facility is expected to generate approximately 150 Gigawatts of power a year. -- Craig Howell
Plans for a hydroelectric project are moving forward in Hancock County.

Joel Herm, founder and CEO of Current Hydro, appeared before the county commission Thursday to provide an update on the firm’s facility, which is planned to be constructed on the eastern side of the New Cumberland Locks and Dam.

“We’re about 30 percent done with our design,” Herm explained “We have the basic concept of what we’re building.”

According to a copy of the project’s preliminary permit application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the hydroelectric facility would have the capacity to generate approximately 20 Megawatts of power, with an annual output of approximately 150 Gigawatts.

Herm noted the company is set to submit its final licensing applications to FERC within the next couple of weeks, as well as its required paperwork with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the locks and dam.

He explained making these applications, while also finalizing the designs, is anticipated to allow Current Hydro to break ground by either late 2025 or early 2026, with the plan to begin operations by the end of 2027.

The company anticipates the project will provide between 200 and 300 construction jobs, with 10 permanent positions available to operate the facility once it is complete.

“We’re really excited,” Herm said.

Responding to what he said were some local concerns, Herm said there are plans to construct a fishing area, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, near the dam, with a nanobubble oxygen system also in place, which Herm said will create a healthier environment for fish in the area.

The commission granted a survey easement for the project in December 2022, with Commissioner Eron Chek explaining additional action by the commission in support of the project could come at a future meeting.

Current Hydro also lists hydroelectric projects at the Pike Island Locks and Dam north of Wheeling, and the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam near Apple Grove, W.Va. as being in development.

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