Binghamton Plans to Harness River's Power

We've seen the devastating power of the Susquehanna River when the Southern Tier flooded twice in recent years. Now some want to harness that power for a positive cause. Trish Kilgannon tells us what hydro-power would mean for the city of Binghamton.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- For nearly 190 years, the Susquehanna River has flowed over the Rockbottom Dam. Now the city wants to make the dam an asset, by adding a hydroelectric plant to harness its power.

"Binghamton is fast becoming a national leader, utilizing new technology to embrace clean energy and smart green development," said Binghamton Mayor Rich David.

The city plans to work with Gravity Renewables to design, build and operate the plant. They say it will cost less than $10 million, and you probably won't even notice the building.

"While the exact layout here at this site is to be determined, imagine it will fit in the landscape here. It's not going to be an eyesore," said Omay Elphick, the Gravity Renewables director of power marketing.

Leaders expect the plant to power about half of city government, including city hall. They say hydropower will save the city $8 million over the next 20 years.

"It's always generating power 24/7/365 as long as there's water,” said Adam Flint, the program manager at Southern Tier Solar Works. “And there pretty much always is at that point in the Susquehanna."

Planning and construction could take up to seven years. But before the project gets underway, city council needs to approve the agreement with Gravity Renewables. David says he expects that to happen next week.

David added that the city has been looking into recreational uses for the river. He said building a hydroelectric plant does not take away those possibilities.

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