As much as 296 MW of new hydroelectric capacity are to be constructed on Ohio River locks and dams under a development plan of American Municipal Power-Ohio. The Columbus-based utility plans to generate a total of 191 MW at three facilities. Preliminary plans for a fourth station that would generate 105 MW have not been finalized.

Plans include a 35-MW plant at  Willow Island, W. Va., an 84-MW plant at Cannelton, Ind., and a 72-MW plant at Smithland locks and dam in Livingston County, Ky. A 105-MW station at the Captain Meldahl lock and dam near Cincinnati could also be part of the program.

“We’re working with the city of Hamilton [Ohio] to develop the facility,”says Paul Meier, AMP-Ohio assistant vice president of hydroelectric development. With 30 ft of head, Meldahl would be able to provide more power than any of the other three projects, each having a lesser head, he says.

AMP-Ohio is moving forward based on the success of its 42-MW Bellville, Ohio, plant. Utility officials would not disclose costs or construction schedules.

Plans to turn Cannelton into a hydroelectric station failed in the 1990s when it was determined that its electricity would cost 9¢ per kWh, compared to the grid’s cost of 7¢ per kWh, says Anthony Davis, assistant operations manager for the Corps of Engineers Louisville District’s locks-and-dam project office. The failed project called for installing turbine generators within the structures.

AMP-Ohio and its engineer, MWH, Broomfield, Colo., plan to build on land at the abutments of the existing facilities, opposite the locks. Channels will be constructed to deliver water to the plant and then convey it back to the river, says Paul Blasczcyk, MWH vice president.