Eastern Fossil and Hydro Generation, a subsidiary of US firm PPL Corp, is to invest US$4.7M to recommission the Orono hydropower plant in Maine.

The company expects to produce 20GWh annually from the refurbished and recommissioned plant when it is brought back on line in 2009. The project is related to PPL’s salmon restoration plans on the Penobscot river.

Orono was owned by Bangor Hydro Electric Co when it was put out of action 12 years ago due to failure of its timber penstocks failed. In 1999, PPL acquired the plant and other assets from the company.

PPL said that its energy marketing and sales subsidiary, PPL EnergyPlus, will sell the electricity from the recommissioned Orono plant.

PPL added 10GWh per year to its hydro output in Maine with expansions recently at its Medway, West Enfield and Stillwater plants.

Over the next few years, PPL is to invest more than US$500M to expand hydropower capacity in the states of Pennsylvania, Maine and Montana.