PPL Montana completes expansion of Rainbow hydropower project

Rainbow Dam

PPL Montana has completed a US$209 million expansion of its Rainbow Dam hydroelectric plant, ending a three-and-a-half year construction project and ensuring its productivity for decades to come.

The expansion increased Rainbow's installed capacity by 70% by replacing several smaller turbine units installed through the 1930s with a single 60 MW generator.

PPL Montana said testing of the new turbine was completed earlier this month, with the unit beginning commercial operation on April 22.

"This is an exciting moment for our employees," PPL Montana Hydro Operations and Management manger Jeremy Clotfelter said. "We are looking forward to the next phase of generating power at Rainbow."

The Rainbow project is located in Montana's Cascade County along the Missouri River and is expected to qualify for investment tax credits or a federal grant made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the company.

HydroWorld.com reported that work on the project was about 60% complete in June 2011 after construction began in Fall 2009.

PPL Montana is a subsidiary of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) and operates 11 hydropower projects along West Rosebud Creek and the Missouri, Madison, Clark Fork and Flathead rivers.

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