This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 08, 2003

Three Hydropower Facilities to be Shut Down in Maine

PPL Corporation announced on October 6th that it has reached an agreement with a coalition of federal and state government agencies and private groups to sell three of its hydroelectric dams in Maine. The coalition has a five-year option to buy the three facilities for $25 million, with plans to remove two of the dams and bypass the third in order to restore runs of Atlantic salmon and other migratory fishes to the Penobscot River. The three projects represent 18 megawatts of hydroelectric generating capability.

PPL will continue to own about 27 megawatts of hydroelectric capacity on the Penobscot River and its tributaries in Maine, and the agreement will allow PPL to boost energy output at its remaining projects. The private groups have also agreed to drop opposition to PPL's federal relicensing efforts for its remaining dams. See the PPL press release.

Although dam removal has obvious benefits for fish migration, the full impact of such a project is difficult to quantify. A report issued in mid-September by the Heinz Center—a nonprofit institution for environmental policy—attempts to draw together all the information that is currently available on the topic. See the Heinz Center press release. Both the latest report and a related report produced last year are available on the Heinz Center's Publications page.