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American Municipal Power Hydropower Projects

The four AMP hydropower projects are using existing dams and turning them into clean, run-of-river hydroelectric generation in the United States.


American Municipal Power  |  Ohio River, United States


American Municipal Power (AMP), a non-profit energy provider serving 130 members across eight states, was seeking a way to both diversify their energy portfolio and meet the growing energy demands of their memberships.   Desiring a clean energy source AMP looked to MWH, who designed Belleville Hydropower Project in the late 1990s, to serve as the Owner’s Engineer for the feasibility review, licensing, design and ultimately construction of four hydropower projects along the Ohio River. These projects, currently under construction, will use the reservoirs formed by existing locks and dams on the river resulting in minimal environmental impacts and will produce enough power for over 200,000 homes.

American Municipal Power Hydropower Projects

Project Scope

These projects involve the transformation of four existing locks and dams on the Ohio River by adding hydroelectric powerhouses enabling capture of the natural power of the Ohio River. MWH designed the projects to maximize the low head green energy potential at each site. Services being provided include feasibility studies, preliminary engineering, geotechnical investigations, hydraulic model studies, regulatory/permitting and license compliance, major equipment procurement support, multidisciplinary detailed design, transmission line design, preparation of bid documents, bidding and negotiation support, engineering services during construction and resident engineering services.


Watch to learn how American Municipal Power is a leader in producing clean energy.

The powerhouse cranes span 190 feet across and can pick up 175 tons.

Million gallons of water will pass per minute, enough for 13 Olympic swimming pools

Stories of the 10 story high powerhouse is underwater.

The powerhouses are designed to overtopped during flood events by as much as 25-ft of water

Project Challenge

Construction of these projects are taking place along the Ohio River, the second most heavily used commercial river in the US, and development of these projects must not disrupt navigation or impact the environment. As such, while these Sites are ideal for the development of green renewable energy, the solutions proposed and approaches taken by past developers were unsuccessful in addressing the licensing issues, which included the first ever 408 approval process for a hydropower project at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer facility as well as the design challenges and logistical requirements.

“MWH’s demonstrated innovation, depth of resources, and complete multi-disciplinary expertise …have been instrumental to the successful design and construction of these projects.”

Phil Meier

VP, Hydro Development and Operations, AMP

Project Solution / Result

MWH and AMP partnered to provide a robust and experienced licensing team that was able to navigate the many hurdles encountered during the licensing process including obtaining the first ever 408 approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers for a hydropower project. MWH employed proven design concepts and innovative technical solutions to address the challenging Site conditions and constraints. Working together with AMP, we also developed and implemented a contracting and procurement strategy for the projects that achieves the required level of quality while maximizing economy through design repeatability, bulk procurements and coordinated schedules. These solutions, coupled with AMP’s true understanding of the long term benefits of renewable hydro generation, are driving the success of these projects.


Read about AMP in the News:

2007 – MWH Awarded Three Ohio Hydroelectric Projects

2011 – Hydropower Takes Center Stage for AMP, Power Engineering (begins on page 184)

2013 – Small Hydro, Big Opportunity, Power

2015 – Hydro Plant to Make Power Soon,  Hancock Clarion

2015 – Willow Island UpdateParkersburg News and Sentinel

2016 – Hydroelectric Plant Producing Power, Hancock Clarion

2016 – The Future of American Hydropower, International Waterpower and Dams

View images of the progress made on the Smithland, KY site.

2012-2013 Progress
2013-2014 Progress

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