Companies still considering Pike Island electric plant

YORKVILLE – Two more energy companies are considering constructing a hydroelectric plant at the Pike Island Locks and Dam.

According to a legal notice, Bedford Energy Associates of Bedford, N.H., and Pike Island Energy of Mount Orab, Ohio, have filed preliminary applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the feasibility of constructing plants.

Pike Island Energy’s proposed facility would annually produce 200 gigawatt-hours of electricity, while Bedford’s would produce 250 gigawatt-hours annually.

In February, American Municipal Power decided not to proceed with a plan to develop a plant there, citing a lack of demand for electricity. In October, Free Flow Power Project of Boston also expressed interest, but withdrew its application for a hydroelectric plant.

Alan Skelly, managing member of Pike Island Energy LLC, said the hydroelectric plant would produce enough electricity to power 30,000 homes. He said to date, there is “every indication” such a facility is feasible at the site.

“We’re actually far along in the initial investigation,” Skelly said.

Skelly said his company made application with FERC before Bedford, a move he believes will help Pike Island Energy win the right to install a facility over Bedford.

“Once you have a permit you’re allowed three years to study the location and identify what you want to put there,” Skelly said, adding public hearings on the proposal also must be held.

The hearings would allow the public to learn about how the facility would impact the environment. The dam is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and was constructed in 1963. It is situated along the Ohio River just north of Warwood on the West Virginia side and Yorkville on the Ohio side.

“This site was previously licensed. There was a lot of initial work done and approved by FERC. We can use that as a foundation for our design and analysis, which traditionally would take three years,” he said.

Bedford representatives could not be reached for comment.