ROANOKE, Va., Feb. 8, 2024 – Appalachian Power’s Byllesby Hydroelectric facility in Carroll County, Virginia, was selected to receive $2.1 million in Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The funds were awarded to 46 facilities across the country as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda aimed at increasing the generation efficiency of the country’s existing hydropower fleet.
The funds will be used to replace one of the four turbine-generator units at Byllesby powerhouse. Replacing the inoperable Unit 4 allows Appalachian Power the capability to generate more electricity with the same volume of water, increasing efficiency of the new unit.
Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office (GDO), the Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives provide payments to owners and operators of hydroelectric facilities, including pumped storage hydropower, to make capital improvements that increase efficiency by at least 3%.
Hydro Environmental Coordinator Ed Brennan was charged with spearheading the company’s application. Brennan said the announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work.
“It’s rewarding we were able to accomplish our goal,” he said. “This was a collaborative effort that took a lot of work between many different groups to make this happen. We’re pleased we were able to acquire these funds to help Byllesby run more efficiently, while helping to keep cost down for our customers.”
Replacement work for Unit 4 is currently in the site preparation and equipment manufacturing phase, with all work expected to be completed by the end of 2025. The $2.1 million awarded is the maximum amount the Byllesby project was allowed under the legislation. Eighty-seven projects were determined by the GDO to be eligible.
In addition, Appalachian Power has an outstanding application with the DOE for an incentive payment for its Claytor Hydroelectric Project. A decision on Claytor Hydro is expected later this year.
The Byllesby/Buck Hydroelectric Project was constructed in 1912 and is on the New River in Carroll County. The Project consists of the Byllesby powerhouse, located approximately nine miles north of Galax, and the Buck powerhouse, which is located approximately three miles downstream of Byllesby. The total installed electric generating capacity of both run-of-the river facilities is 30 megawatts.