February 27, 2008

PPL Montana to Upgrade Rainbow Dam Powerhouse

Electricity generator PPL Montana is planning to nearly double the amount of renewable electricity produced at its Rainbow hydroelectric plant on the Missouri River near Great Falls, Montana, by constructing a new powerhouse with a 60MW turbine.

Starting in spring 2009, PPL Montana will begin construction of a new powerhouse. All eight of the smaller existing units at the Rainbow Dam, which have a combined capacity of 35MW, will be eventually replaced with the single 60MW unit, big enough to power approximately 45,000 homes.

PPL Montana said that the new larger turbine offers a significantly more fish-friendly design than the current small turbine configuration, including wider flow passages, fewer rotating surfaces and improvements to the turbine intake screens.

Brad Spencer, PPL Montana's vice president and COO, said: "The re-development of our Rainbow hydroelectric plant will add renewable energy in an environment-friendly way and help meet the region's need for new sources of clean, reliable electricity generation. It is part of our ongoing commitment to make sound financial investments, while operating our generating plants safely and in an environmentally sensitive way."