MINEVILLE — The Moriah Hydro Corp.’s long-anticipated power-generating project will soon be the subject of a public informational gathering.
The hydroelectric project, planned for the town’s old iron mines, could create six to 10 permanent jobs, according to Albany Engineering President James Besha Sr.
The $264.1 million project would be funded by private investors. Albany Engineering is the parent company of Moriah Hydro Corp.
Besha will present the Mineville Energy Storage Project plan at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in the Moriah Central School auditorium. A question-and-answer session will follow his talk.
His firm has submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin construction.
“This could be great for the Town of Moriah,” Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said. “It would increase our tax base and provide some new employment.”
The project would use underground mines in Moriah’s Mineville hamlet to pump water from a lower storage elevation during non-peak times for power usage to a higher elevation, then release it at peak times to generate electricity.
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.
Several hydroelectric pump turbines would be installed to pump the water to the higher storage areas in the Old Bed, Bonanza and Harmony mines previously operated by Republic Steel Corp.
Each pump-generator would put out 260 megawatts of power, fed through underground cables to a National Grid high-voltage, 115-kilovolt line about a mile away.
Moriah’s iron mines closed in 1972, with most equipment removed by 1980. The town bought the property on which the hydro project would be located from Republic Steel at the urging of then-Town Supervisor Raymond Slattery.
Part of the parcel is used now for the Town Solid Waste Transfer Station, and a mostly depleted mine-ore-tailings pile sits where the project building would be constructed.
Whether the town would lease or sell the property to Moriah Hydro has not yet been worked out, officials said earlier.
The project was first proposed in 1997. The draft application was filed with FERC Oct. 4, 2013, and the final application was submitted Feb. 13, 2015.
“It’s been a long process,” Scozzafava said. “But we’re getting close.”
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