The 5,500 people who live in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of
use electricity distributed by the borough government. But that electricity is purchased by a supplier
based in Ohio, a situation expected to change in 2014.
Local officials are planning a hydroelectric power plant near a dam at nearby Beltzville Lake. Once that plant is up and running, borough manager Nicole Beckett says, Lehighton will be able to distribute locally-generated electricity to some of its residents. More specifically, the plant is expected to generate almost 9,500 megawatt hours of power for at least 75 years. That's enough to supply 1,600 homes.
The project at the Beltzville Lake reservoir has been discussed for nearly 30 years. In 2008 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
issued the borough a license to build the plant. Last month the borough learned that it will get a $5.5 million state grant
toward its estimated construction costs of $15.7 million.
Beckett says the borough is now in the process of finalizing details for construction of the plant, which will be built in partnership with a company
in California. Construction is expected to begin in 2013, with the plant in operation by April 2014.
Source: Nicole Beckett, Borough of Lehighton
Writer: Rebecca VanderMeulen