Hydroelectric plant at Lock and Dam 21

Quincy still is waiting for federal permission to build a hydroelectric plant at Lock and Dam 21. The city completed its license application this summer...but probably won't learn its outcome until 2011.

This is what Quincy's hydropower plant would look like. Chamber members did not get to see the actual blueprints, because of homeland security regulations. Computer models show thirty turbines that would produce 15 megawatts worth of energy -- enough to power 14,000 homes. They would be placed in the river where the overflow spillway is, west of the dam. The city applied for the license in July and could begin construction as soon as next September.

"It produces green electrical energy for use in the United States when there's a huge focus right now to try to wean ourselves off of fossil-based fuels. Of course, also, when you build a project, you hope it would make some money as well. So the city could use that as an income stream to the city for the city services," said Klingner mechanical engineer John Neyens.

Also in the works is an expansion to the lock. The lock can hold a 600-foot barge. Expanding it to 1200 feet would allow larger vessels to go through the lock.

"They're still doing concept drawings and they're doing a lot of modeling... Hopefully if the funding comes through and the government passes it, then it'll happen," said assistant lock master Jeff Gibbs.

Lock 22 at Saverton will be the first lock to get the 1200-foot chamber. Lock 21's expansion project will happen after that.

Gibbs also said the Lock and Dam is in excellent shape. It's checked every year for movement.