PPL Corp. Revamps Renewable Assets

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PPL Corporation’s (PPL) subsidiary, PPL Montana announced the allotment of a new 60-megawatt (MW) powerhouse to the residents of the region. The company’s $245 million investment in the new powerhouse replaces a century old powerhouse at the Ranibow Dam hydroelectric facility. This powerhouse will generate sufficient clean electricity to power 45,000 homes.

The newly constructed powerhouse is located approximately 2,500 feet downstream from the Rainbow Dam in the Great Falls and is 200 feet from the previous powerhouse.

In addition, PPL Corporation replaced over 23 miles of 100-kilovolt (:KV) power lines and structures, improved the substations at each plant, and fixed a new Crooked Falls switchyard. Currently, water runs through a 2,500-foot power canal and a 25-foot diameter penstock to the new turbine generator.

This venture will help PPL Corporation to improve the competence and reliability of the electrical systems by linking five hydro plants of the Great Falls to NorthWestern Energy’s grid.

PPL Corporation started its development process at the new facility in Oct 2009 and finished the same at the beginning of 2013. This facility commenced commercial operation from Apr 2013.

The project created over 200 construction jobs in the locality. In addition, the venture will increase Rainbow's generating capacity by 70% without the need for building new and big dams.

We note that utilization of renewable energy for electricity generation is increasing primarily due to its clean nature and a growing consciousness among the masses about its benefits. This has influenced utility providers to shift their energy mix to water, solar and wind from fossil fuels.

In fact, several countries have rolled out mandates for minimizing pollution level for power generation. In Aug 2005, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency circulated a regulation that each of the federal agencies will consume renewable energy-fuelled power of not less than 7.5% in 2013 and onward.

To fulfill the environmental legislations, most of the utility providers invested substantial amounts for developing and upgrading their renewable utility assets. Apart from PPL Corporation, other utility providers including ALLETE, Inc. (ALE), Northeast Utilities (NU) and NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG) are investing heavily to develop and upgrade their renewable emission-free utility assets to comply with stringent regulations.

Fossil fuels still remain the most popular fuel source among energy producers owing to its abundance in the U.S. but it continues to face tough competition from the renewable power generation sources.

Allentown, Pa.-based PPL Corporation is an energy and utility holding company. The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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