Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions.

Additional questions can always be sent to:

  • While there are a few different kinds of technologies, simply put, hydropower is energy that is generated by harnessing the power of moving water.

  • Moving water and the force it generates is used to spin a propeller-style blades that then spin a generator, creating electricity.

  • The Pittsburgh region is blessed with abundant rainfall – increasing due to climate change, an existing lock and dam system – built for navigation decades ago and still depended upon today, and strong regional partners who are interested in advancing a uniquely Pittsburgh-version of the renewable energy transition.

  • Each project is expected to create between 150-200 family-wage jobs over a roughly two-year construction timeline. That is a total 2000 jobs across ten regional projects.

  • Hydropower has many benefits. It is the only round-the-clock renewable energy resource – unlike wind or solar, hydroelectric power can consistently generate renewable electricity at all hours of the day. Hydropower does not have to worry about the sun not shining or the wind not blowing.

    Hydropower is also a multi-generational asset, lasting 80-100 years.

    Hydropower, when cited properly is also extremely low impact from both an environmental and land-use stand point.

  • Not all hydropower plants are the same, in fact, there are many variations in the type of hydropower you may find in the U.S. In the western U.S., for example, large on-river hydro plants were built in the middle part of 1900s as cities boomed and resources were constrained. The impacts of these large systems on the environment were significant.

    Rye Development looks for projects on existing dam structures that currently do not have power: Non-powered dams. By powering existing structures that are not at-risk for removal, Rye’s projects add a net-benefit to the environment, but repurposing an existing structure, investing in the regions infrastructure, and using that non-powered dam to drive local economic investment while bringing new renewable energy online.

    All Hydropower licensing is run by the federal government. As such, each of Rye’s projects go through a multi-year federal energy regulatory (FERC) permitting process. This process includes a full National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Our projects are designed to maximize benefit and limit any environmental impact.

  • Yes. Nearly all of Rye’s proposed projects in the region will add ADA accessible recreational access to the river at the project site. This could include fishing access, recreational boat launches, and/or nearby bike trail improvements. Rye works with local stakeholders to define how best to improve recreational use of the waterways at each individual project site.

  • Rye is proposing eight projects in southwestern PA, there are other developers looking at opportunities across the state, but Rye’s bundle of projects are the most advanced. There is some existing hydropower in the Commonwealth, but nothing new has been built in a few decades.