Question: When does the removal of a hydropower dam result in increased energy generation?
Answer: When the Penobscot River Restoration Trust removes the dam.
The Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a collaboration between environmental groups, state and federal resource agencies, the Penobscot Indian Nation, and PPL Corporation, has struck a deal to restore 1,000 miles of Atlantic Salmon (and other species) habitat on the Penobscot River by removing two dams formerly owned by PPL (Veazie and Great Works) and constructing a fish bypass around a third (Howland). Verrill Dana has been there from the start, helping the Trust with contracting, permitting and strategic planning (read more about it on our website)
“Well,” you say, “that’s great for the fish, what about the energy?” With bombs falling overseas, don’t we need to keep all of our home-grown electrons?
The Trust and PPL thought so—so they structured this deal to allow PPL or its successor (now Black Bear Hydro) to increase generation at other facilities in the Penobscot River watershed. The result—happy fish- AND the river system will maintain its generating capacity (maybe even eke out a little more than it did before).
It can be done. We’re doing it in Maine.