(WILLIAMS) - After a 60 year hiatus, hydroelectric power will be generated at Williams Dam on the White River.
Free Flow Power Corp. of Boston announced Thursday afternoon it is close to receiving the necessary license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to "re-power" Williams Dam.
The company plans to invest $12-million dollars to create a 4-megawatt "run-of-river" power facility.
Williams Dam is owned by the Department of Natural Resources and was originally constructed as hydro-electric dam in 1910. The dam was de-commissioned as a power producer in the 1950's.
"This investment in Lawrence County signals to prospective employers that Lawrence County is a great place to invest," said Gene McCracken, Executive Director of The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council. "We have the trained workforce, and the energy infrastructure to meet the needs of any manufacturing interest."
Lawrence County Commission President Bill Spreen lives one-half mile from Williams Dam. "Free Flow Power's investment in our part of Lawrence County sends a big message to commercial and industrial prospects. The money will be spent here, boosting the local economy, creating direct and indirect employment."
The project is expected to generate 25 construction jobs, and two permanent highly-skilled jobs. There are no local or state economic development funds set aside for the project.
Free Flow expects the final FERC license to be granted in the first quarter of 2014.
Free Flow is currently in discussions with potential customers for long-term purchase contracts for the power, which will begin being generated in mid-2016.
"As fossil fuels face greater regulatory burdens, we are compelled to tap into renewable, green energy sources that are as old as Earth itself", said General Robert Crear, Chairman of FFP Development, and a member of Free Flow Power's board.
Crear is the former Army Corps of Engineers General in charge of the Corps' Mississippi Valley Division. "Hydro-electric power produces no emissions, respects wildlife, and does not interfere with the current route of the river," said Crear.
"Hydroelectric power is a small, but important part of any state's long-term energy policy," said Tristan Vance, Director of the Indiana Office of Energy Development. "We need a diverse energy portfolio, which includes coal, gas, methane, wind, solar, nuclear, and hydroelectric, in order to power our economy."
The Williams Dam project is one of 55 current of planned hydroelectric projects in Free Flow's long-term strategy to harness the untapped power of Army Corps of Engineers and state-owned dams across the country.
Free Flow has been working in Indiana the past three years, with representatives of Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and local elected officials, to address all potential issues.
"We are in agreement with state and federal regulatory agencies that there are no insurmountable issues at Williams Dam," said Tom Feldman, Free Flow Power's Vice President of Project Development. "We are coordinating with the State every step of the way."
For more information on Free Flow and its long-term energy strategy, please visit: free-flow-power.com
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