The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

February 12, 2014

Local hydro projects may get boost

— A Colorado company wants to help the Cambria Somerset Authority jump-start a long-planned effort to create small hydroelectric operations at two area dams.

CSA officials said they are in early discussions with Boulder, Colo.-based Gravity Renewables about the possibility of several “partnership” options that could put electricity-generating hydroelectric turbines at  Quemahoning Reservoir and Peggy’s Run.

Given the lengthy and expensive federal process required to get small hydro projects off the ground, a little help might be a good thing, CSA Chairman Jim Greco said.

“This is all still very early in the (discussion) process, but it could be a positive step,” Greco said. “It certainly won’t hurt to explore it.”

The CSA has been working toward developing hydroelectric generating stations at its three dam sites for years.

The authority’s energy consultant, Maine-based Kleinschmidt Associates, has been working on designs for potential hydroelectric stations at the Que, Peggy’s Run and a smaller effort at Hinckston Dam. The firm’s 2012 study for the CSA indicated the projects would cost $5.2 million to build but would generate $534,000 yearly in revenue.

Kleinschmidt is now in the early stages of moving the project through a multiyear federal permit process, but CSA manager Earl Waddell said the consultant referred the authority to Gravity in recent weeks.

“The company has extensive experience in small hydros and are operating a few currently,” Waddell told the board in a report last week. “They are also in the permitting process on a couple new hydros.”

Gravity’s website describes the company as an investor-backed owner, operator and developer of small U.S. hydroelectric power plants. An online portfolio shows it operates several hydro projects in North Carolina and New York.

The largest, the Saxapahaw Hydro Project, generates enough energy to power 592 homes a year.  

Three other projects are in development, including one at an Army Corps of Engineers site in eastern Kentucky, the company’s website shows. Once operational, it could power nearly 3,000 homes a year, a project description adds.

Waddell said Gravity has only expressed interest in the CSA’s proposed Peggy’s Run and Que sites, whose flows would produce most of the estimated 1.8 megawatts of annual energy the project’s owners could then sell to utility companies.

If the negotiations continue, project ownership would likely be a main talking point.

“There are a lot of options. We could own it. They could own it. They could manage it and we could retain ownership or we could share it,” Waddell said. “Even if it was their project, they’d be buying the water from us.”

“But all of this is very preliminary,” he added. A lot can change when you start talking about numbers and dollar figures.”

Kleinschmidt’s studies are being sent to Gravity for review, Waddell said.

Gravity will review the information and respond with a proposal, he said.

At that point, a meeting likely would be scheduled with the CSA’s property and finance committee, which is comprised of Greco and fellow members Jim Edwards, William Hoppel and Dave Mankamyer.

David Hurst covers the Cambria Somerset Authority for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 19, 2014

  • VIDEO | Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 19, 2014

  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads