October 2012 Chapter Event
Topic: Rehab of a 2 mW Hydroelectric Plant on the Kentucky River
When: October 12, 2012 - 1pm
Where: Envision Center, Erlanger KY
Robert Fairchild, David Kinloch and David Coyte co-own and operate a small hydroelectric plant on Lock and Dam No. 7 near High Bridge on the Kentucky River. The 2 mW plant generates enough power for nearly 2,000 homes. Built in 1928, it's remarkable that it produces any power because its 3 generators had not produced power for 6 years when Kentucky Utilities (KU) sold it in 2005 to Lock 7 Hydro Partners LLC.
Hydro Partners is a partnership between Shaker Landing Hydro Associates Inc. (owned by Fairchild, Kinloch and Coyte) and Salt River Electric, a rural electric cooperative based in Bardstown. The hydroelectric plant is named “Mother Ann Lee Hydroelectric Station,” after the founder of the Shakers, a religious sect known for ingenuity in the 1800s. The station connects to KU grid near Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Mother Ann Lee's electricity is sold to Salt River Electric.
When they acquired the plant, one generator had not run since 1992, another not since 1994 and the 3rd not since 1999. They got the 1st generator running in Mar 2007, the 2nd in Oct 2007 and the 3rd in Dec 2008. Today the plant is in full operation, monitored remotely from a home computer in Louisville. And the plant is making money. In 2009 the Mother Ann Lee was the only certified “low-impact" plant in Kentucky, adequately protecting river flows, water quality, aquatic life and other factors as certified by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, an independent non-profit in Maine. There were only 38 certified projects in USA at that time.
To learn more about Mother Ann Lee Hydroelectric Station, visit www.kyhydropower.com. To view photos on its history, pre-work conditions, rehabilitation and recent conditions, click on "Photo Galleries". View current powerplant power output at www.kyhydropower.com/data.php.
Robert (Bob) Fairchild received his B.S. in mechanical engineering and his M.S. in science, technology and values from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He moved to Kentucky to work for Appalachia - Science in the Public Interest (A-SPI). In 1987 he formed Eastern Kentucky Appropriate Technologies which helps people to better use local renewable resources and technologies. He is also proprietor of Ecolotech in Dreyfus, providing a wide range of ecological consulting, design, and installation services, including PV, hydro, wind, solar thermal, energy audits, and building design assistance.
Driving directions from I-75/71 - in Northern Kentucky, south of Cincinnati
Take I-75 / I-71 to I-275 West toward Cincinnati / NKY International Airport
Take Mineola Pike Exit - 1st exit off I-275 west of I-75 / 71
GO LEFT (south) on Mineola Pike
At the 2nd stop light, GO LEFT onto Olympic Blvd.
Pass companies like Toyota and Pepsi
Envision Center is in the last building on the left - Building C - before Turfway Rd
GO RIGHT into the parking lot in front of Building C. Envision Center is at the end