Press-Republican

Local News

December 21, 2013

Hydroelectric project coming closer in Moriah

MORIAH — A hydroelectric project planned for Moriah’s old iron mines could create six to 10 permanent jobs and greatly enhance the town’s tax base.

And it may provide the town with a new highway garage as well.

The $264.1 million project would be funded by private investors, with licensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2014 and construction starting in 2015, according to Albany Engineering President James Besha.

Albany Engineering formed a subsidiary, Moriah Hydro Corp., to build what the firm calls the Mineville Pumped Storage Project on land now owned by the Town of Moriah near the Moriah Solid Waste Transfer Station.

The draft license application was filed with the Regulatory Commission on Oct. 4.

“We’ve had a study permit; the final license application will be submitted after Jan. 4,” Besha told the Press-Republican on Friday. “Folks want to see this as an energy source.”

‘HIGHWAY GARAGE, TOO’

The project would sell the estimated 737.6 million kilowatt-hours of annual output to the Northeast power pool.

Construction would take 30 months and employ about 100 people. A large building would be erected at the site to access the interconnected mines used for the project, and Besha said that would be turned over to the town at the end for use as a new highway garage.

The hydro facility itself would need only a 100-by-100-square-foot surface building when it’s up and running, he said. 

“It’s an automated (hydroelectric) facility. Probably half a dozen to 10 people would be needed to maintain it.”

Besha said it hasn’t been decided yet if Moriah Hydro would lease the land or acquire it from the town.

WATER FROM MINES

Most of the project would be underground, using the interconnected Old Bed, New Bed, Bonanza and Harmony mines, about 4,000 feet below the surface. The powerhouse would be constructed underground, adjacent to the mines, 2,050 feet below the upper reservoir.

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