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News Coverage

  • Hydroelectric Dam on Ohio River to Power Pa. County's Operations

    The plant is set to open as early as mid-2023 and should not have any effect on recreation on the river, according to Alleghany County officials. Rye will pursue a low-impact environmental certification as it works to "ensure that the local river ecosystem is protected," the county said in a statement.

    "We are investing in future generations and the environment to make the quality of life here in southwestern Pennsylvania and Allegheny County everything it can be," Fitzgerald said in a virtual press conference.

    Announced a day after President Joe Biden signed executive orders to promote renewable energy and tame carbon emissions, the partnership with Rye has been in the works for a couple of years, according to Fitzgerald.

    - Read the full article

  • County Invests In Hydropower Plant To Be Built At Emsworth

    A Pennsylvania county has signed an agreement to purchase renewable energy generated through a new hydropower plant planned at an existing dam on the Ohio River.

    On January 28, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced the county has entered into a 35-year power purchase agreement with Rye Development, based in Boston, Mass., to purchase the power generated by a 17.8-megawatt, low-impact hydropower facility Rye is building. He called the announcement a landmark day for the county.

    “This announcement renews our commitment to the environment, our commitment to addressing climate change and is an investment in our future generations,” Fitzgerald said.

    The facility is planned to be built at the Emsworth Main Channel Dam on the Ohio River. Rye Development has collaborated with the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the dam, on the project’s development. It requires the Corps’ approval before construction begins. Construction on the hydropower plant is planned to begin in late 2021, and it is expected to be operational as early as mid-2023, according to Allegheny County.

    - Read the full article

  • Pennsylvania county will light up its buildings with hydro-electric power

    A planned hydropower plant will supply electricity for county-run operations in Allegheny County, Pa., according to an announcement by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

    Boston-based Rye Development LLC will finance and build the 17.8-megawatt plant along the Ohio River at the Emsworth Main Channel Dam, near Pittsburgh. Under the terms of a 35-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Rye, the county will buy renewable energy from the hydropower plant.

    The project requires approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the original dam. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the plant expected to be operational by mid-2023.

    - Read the full article

  • Are We Heading for a Hydropower Boom on the Three Rivers?

    At 12 megawatts, the Emsworth dam is a modest-sized project. It could power only 6,000 to 12,000 homes. That’s a tiny fraction compared to the million or so homes a big coal-fired power plant or a major hydro plant— like the Hoover Dam or Niagara Falls—can light up. But the combined output of all of the company’s projects in the region would add up to 200 megawatts—enough to power up to 200,000 homes.

    “It’s a carbon-free resource, and once it’s built, it’ll just operate,” Jacob says. “The life of these projects is extremely long compared to most other resources. So it makes a good contribution—adding a renewable resource that’s also available on a 24-7 basis.”

    By comparison, wind and solar are more intermittent renewable energy sources: When the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, they can’t produce electricity. So adding reliable sources of power that generate electricity at all hours is a big push for people trying to get more renewables onto the grid. Advocates for hydropower say their resource could fit the bill.

    - Read the full article

  • Firm plans hydroelectric plant below Highland Park Bridge

    Officials with Rye Development of Boston say they are moving ahead with design plans for a hydroelectric power plant at Locks and Dam No. 2 on the Allegheny River, just below the Highland Park Bridge.

    The $40 million to $60 million project could produce up to 11 megawatts, enough to provide power for 5,000 to 8,000 homes, according to company officials.

    The Allegheny River site is one of eight potential hydroelectric plants the company would like to develop in the Three Rivers region, including four on the Monongahela River and three on the Ohio River.

    “Our goal is to do all eight projects at once,” said Paul Jacob, chief executive officer of Rye Development. “It makes more sense to deal with these simultaneously.”

    The hydroelectric plant on the Allegheny would be located on O’Hara side of the river, opposite from where the locks are located, and could be used as an emergency source of electricity in the event of a major power outage, Mr. Jacob said.

    - Read the full article

  • University of Pittsburgh announces plan to get 25% of their electricity from a hydropower plant

    On January 1st of this year, the University of Pittsburgh unveiled its 2018 sustainability plan, an ambitious set of new research and operational goals aimed at getting the massive research institution to 50% renewable power by 2030.

    While Pitt has steadily made strides on water and energy conservation over the last year, on November 28th the university announced the largest and most ambitious phase of the project yet.

    Starting in 2022, Pitt will purchase 25% its electricity from a new hydropower plant currently under construction just beneath the Highland Park Bridge, located five miles from campus.

    “As a research institution and community partner, we are committed to leading by example with sustainable practices that will help future generations thrive in a world that is environmentally responsible, socially equitable and economically robust,” says Greg Scott, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for business and operations.

    - Read the full article

  • Pitt gets a power-up with hydroelectric energy

    Within three years, Pitt plans to use a system in which hydroelectricity powers more than a quarter of its energy usage. This will be done through a partnership with the Boston-based hydroelectric engineering firm Rye Development.

    Pitt signed a power purchase agreement with Rye Development to buy 100 percent of the energy produced by Rye’s planned low-impact hydroelectric plant, which will be constructed on the already existing Allegheny Lock and Dam 2. The plant, Allegheny Lock and Dam 2 are projected to be finished and generating power by 2022, and will be located below the Highland Park Bridge fewer than five miles from Pitt’s campus — a fact Dr. Aurora Sharrard, director of Pitt Sustainability, is looking forward to.

    “Partnering with a facility that is going to be less than five miles from campus is a very unique thing that doesn’t necessarily manifest itself every day,” Sharrard said.

    - Read the full article

  • The University of Pittsburgh plans to harness the power of the Allegheny River for electricity needs

    In less than five years, the University of Pittsburgh will be harnessing the power of the Allegheny River to provide a quarter of its electricity needs.

    Progress continues on a low-impact, hydroelectric power plant on the Allegheny River – the first such facility constructed on any of Pittsburgh’s three rivers for three decades – as developer Rye Development LLC begins the final engineering of the project, expected to open in 2022. Rye Development is based in Boston with an office in Pittsburgh.

    All of the power produced at the $30 million to $50 million facility will provide the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland campus with 25 percent of its annual electricity starting in 2023.

    - Read the full article