Willow Island Hydropower Plant in Full Operation

The State Journal
10 March 2016
By Jim Ross

The hydroelectric power plant on the Ohio River near St. Marys now is in full operation after nearly five years of construction.

The first of two units of the plant on the West Virginia side of the Willow Island Locks and Dam went into commercial operation Jan. 4. The second unit went into operation Feb. 4.

The power plant generates about 40 megawatts of electricity in the two units, which use horizontal turbines. Power generated at the plant is transmitted through a 1.6-mile-long  transmission line that connects with an existing transmission line in West Virginia, said Krista Selvage, director of media relations and communications for American Municipal Power, which built and operates the plant.

Excavation and cofferdam construction at the plant began in June 2011. Powerhouse construction began in December 2012. Ruhlin Construction of Sharon, Ohio, was the lead contractor on the project.

A total of 79 AMP member utilities in five states will receive power from the Willow Island Hydroelectric Plant. AMP is also developing hydroelectric power stations at the Meldahl, Cannelton and Smithland locks and dams on the Ohio, all of which are downstream of West Virginia.

“There are some units online at Cannelton and Meldahl, and we anticipate all units at Cannelton, Meldahl and Smithland will be online before the end of 2016,” Selvage said. “This development is the largest deployment of clean, renewable run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation in the country.”

American Municipal Power is a nonprofit wholesale power supplier and services provider for 131 member municipal electric systems in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia. Its West Virginia members are New Martinsville and Philippi.