|Updated February 1, 2013
PLEASE CHECK BACK SOON !
About the Silver Creek Pumped Storage Project........
In 2006, this Opportunity-for-Blythe website was created by DiRenzo Coal Co. to inform residents and
leadership of Blythe Township and Schuylkill County of a proposal to significantly increase regional water
storage. The proposal involves creating a much larger reservoir by and through surface mining and
reclamation of Anthracite coal reserves at the Silver Creek Reservoir. The original website summarizing the
proposal remains available below (scroll down to review). While the proposal continues to offer great
potential as originally planned, recent initiatives and efforts by the electric industry and government to
improve the nation’s grid have provided additional dimension, possibility, and opportunity worthy of serious
Reservoirs provide known functions and benefits including, water supply, flood control, recreation, and
hydropower. One type of hydropower, known as “pumped storage” (aka: pumped hydro), is again receiving
much consideration from those responsible for the generation, distribution, regulation, and storage of
electric power. By utilizing two reservoirs at different elevations, pumped storage hydropower is a long-
proven efficient method to store relatively inexpensive excess “off peak” electricity for use during “on peak”
hours. In addition to revenue from the time-of-day price differential (arbitrage), energy storage offers many
other benefits to the electric grid. Visit the following links to learn more about the many benefits that
pumped storage offers:
Pump Storage Information, Needs, Benefits - Link #1
Hundreds of pumped storage plants are operating around the world...some for more than 75 years. In the
past several years, dozens of new pumped storage sites have been proposed throughout the United
States. Several of these sites involve the integration of, abandoned, existing, or proposed mining
operations. In Pennsylvania, two pumped storage plants have operated for several decades. One being the
Muddy Run Plant located along the Susquehanna River in York County, and the other being the Seneca
Plant located at the Kinzua Reservoir in Warren County. Pumped storage dominates its field by providing
more than 98% of world’s current electrical energy storage capacity. It remains the industry’s workhorse
and the best contender to satisfy the new call for additional grid scale energy storage.
Peak Hour Power, LLC is a Pennsylvania company formed by the owners of the subject coal reserves. Its
mission is to evaluate past mining and reclamation proposals and determine whether or not it is feasible to
construct and utilize post-mining reservoirs for pumped storage purposes. This effort and proposed project
has been named the “Silver Creek Pumped Storage Project”.
In the United States, the study, development, and operation of hydropower in the United States is overseen
and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC). Accordingly, on December 15, 2011,
Peak Hour Power took the next logical step in the process by filing an application to FERC for what is
known as a Preliminary Permit. Such a permit initially provides the applicant thirty-six months to evaluate
feasibility and exercise an exclusive right to apply for a License for project construction. Peak Hour Power’s
FERC application, along with additional information regarding FERC, Preliminary Permits, and hydropower
regulation, can be found on the FERC website or the following links:
Peak Hour Power - Preliminary Permit Application - December 2011
Peak Hour Power - FERC Preliminary Permit Granted - May 2012
On May 17, 2012, FERC responded favorably to Peak Hour Power’s application by granting a Preliminary
Permit effective May 1, 2012. Initial investigations are underway. One requirement of a Preliminary Permit
is to provide FERC with a progress report every six months. Accordingly, Peak Hour Power’s first progress
report was filed on or before November 1, 2012. A copy of this progress report can be viewed at this link...
FERC 1st Six Month Report
Benefits of the “Silver Creek Pumped Storage Project” are…
• Offers a zero-emission, time-tested, and proven, renewable energy project that could exceed $400
million in economic value.
• Substantially increase the local tax base by adding a large clean energy complex to land that has
been tax-exempt for nearly 70 years.
• Help achieve State renewable energy portfolio goals by providing grid-scale storage to mitigate the
undesirable intermittent nature of renewables such as wind and solar.
• Recovers millions of tons of clean burning Pennsylvania Anthracite to help meet increasing demand
for this unique, multipurpose, local natural resource. What’s more, the coal mining would subsidize the cost
of pumped storage development.
• Provide many hundred construction jobs; as well as many permanent jobs needed for long term plant
operation and maintenance.
• Abate existing abandoned mine land and drainage found adjacent to the Silver Creek Reservoir.
• Could be integrated with existing and proposed local wind and solar power projects so as to increase
the efficiency and viability of local/regional renewable energy as a whole.
• Consistent with National goals to expand renewable energy, develop domestic energy, and above all,
create good paying American jobs.
• Expand, augment, and more efficiently utilize surplus regional water supplies through
interconnections, transmission extensions, and distribution improvements.
• Potential to improve local (eco)tourism through an interactive hydropower visitor / learning center.
• Bolster existing Pennsylvania industry. In York County, international giant Voith Hydro employs
hundreds of hard working, well paid, Pennsylvanians to build the large reversible pump-turbines utilized in
pumped storage operations.
The following is a picture of the 240 MegaWatt Turlough Hill Pumped Storage Plant in the mountains of
County Wicklow, Ireland. Peak Hour Power believes Turlough Hill offers excellent comparison to the size,
configuration, and appearance of the pumped storage plant proposed for Blythe Township. The lower
reservoir would be what remains of a planned surface coal mine. The upper reservoir would be a semi-
circular dam/dike constructed from the rock and earth byproduct (overburden) of the surface mine.
More information will be available on this website soon. Until then, please visit the
following website of a group proposing and studying a pumped storage project in
Nevada. This group is as far along in the FERC process as Peak Hour Power, LLC.
Welcome to the WebSite...
The photo at left is Lake "East-Pit Lake" located in
Alberta, Canada. The site was once a coal surface
mine, but later reclaimed and transformed into a
valuable recreational lake and prize fishery. Much
science supports the notion that such a
reservoir/lake can be created through mining and
reclamation near the site of the existing Silver Creek
Reservoir in northern Blythe Township, Schuylkill
|< Click photo for more information
about East Pit Lake
This interactive website was created to provide the residents of Blythe Township, Schuylkill Co. with facts and
information about an opportunity to secure a long-term much needed revenue source for public use; and improve the
local environment and economy in the process.
In May of 2003, DiRenzo Coal Co. (DiRenzo) purchased land and coal reserves near the Silver Creek Reservoir from
"In an era of ever increasing municipal expenses and corresponding levels of taxation, municipalities
need to find new and innovative ways of generating revenue without increasing taxation on its
Cynthia M. Borchick, Blythe Twp. Supervisor
Pottsville Free Press, May 2004
what remains of Reading Company, the defunct railroad empire. Several million tons of high quality Anthracite coal
reserves exist upon this property, much of which is under the Silver Creek Reservoir. This reservoir is owned and
operated by the Blythe Township Municipal Authority (Blythe Authority), a municipal corporation created in 1943 by
the Supervisors of Blythe Township. Although this reservoir and adjacent land is presently used for water supply
purposes, DiRenzo believes it is greatly underutilized and could be profitably developed into a much higher and
better water resource use.
During its 100+ years of ownership; Reading Co. has made numerous unsuccessful efforts to replace the reservoir
and develop these coal reserves. DiRenzo believes that significant changes have occurred since Reading Co.'s
efforts and that today mining and reclamation offers economic and environmental benefits to Blythe Twp. for
generations to come. The most significant change is the feasibility of a continued adequate supply of water during
mining and reclamation. Past approaches to develop an alternative water source were simply too costly, politically
constrained, or could not assure adequate quality or quantity. However, recent discussions with the Borough of
Tamaqua found this nearby water-wealthy community quite interested in selling surplus water to the Blythe Authority.
So today; realizing the many benefits of mining and reclamation at Silver Creek could be as simple as tapping into
Tamaqua's existing, approved, and abundant water supply. In fact, Blythe Twp.'s east neighbor, Schuylkill Twp., has
plans underway to extend Tamaqua's water system to the villages of Newkirk and Reevesdale; making a future
connection between the Blythe Authority and Tamaqua water systems that much more feasible (See related news
The opportunity consists of implementing an adequate alternative water supply plan that allows for mining and
reclamation at the site of the Silver Creek Reservoir. If any of several studied alternative water supply scenarios is
developed, DiRenzo is prepared to generously share the profits generated by the realization of this
opportunity with Blythe Township.
Far beyond mining and money, much past and present evidence shows that planned reclamation could result in a
post-mining reservoir many times larger than the existing Silver Creek Reservoir. Throughout the world there are
many sites that once hosted quarries or surface mines and now host functional reservoirs or recreational lakes.
Schuylkill County is no exception with many water filled excavations used for water supply, fishing, and/or swimming.
Blythe Twp.'s very own "Caparell Pit", located east of the Silver Creek Reservoir is one example. Most of these
inundated pits were never planned to have any water resource value after mining. The most valuable and functional
of such water impoundments were well planned prior to mining, just like DiRenzo is proposing as part of this
opportunity, and just like Blythe Twp. officials have considered in the past ...but choose to disregard today despite
many favorable changes and circumstances.
Unfortunately, Blythe Township officials have flat-out refused to consider this opportunity and deferred the entire
matter to the Water Authority. Efforts to discuss this opportunity with the Water Authority have been met with closed-
mindedness, costly frivolous litigation, and the promise for more. This despite the fact that Blythe's appointed and
elected officials have considered the benefits of mining and reclamation at Silver Creek several times in the past. So
why not consider it now, at a time when Blythe Twp. is economically distressed and it's taxpayers are plagued with
little tax-base and the burdensome cost of many public works projects?
DiRenzo believes Blythe's officials are being negligent in their duties by unjustly ignoring the facts and denying this
renewed opportunity the consideration it needs and deserves. Please contact the public officials at the locations
provided below and request that this opportunity be provided with the same attention and consideration given to
projects like the (past) soil burner and (present) landfill located on Blythe Authority land along the Burma-Road. In
fact, insist that this opportunity be given special consideration because it does not involve the importation and
disposal of any trash or waste....and never will. If and when you do express your position, please keep in mind that
the only goal at this point is to have Blythe Township officials participate in a fair, open, and public process to further
evaluate this opportunity.
The pages and links of this website provide facts, figures, and information relating to this opportunity. Please visit
each and by all means contact us with any questions or comments. We are committed to public awareness and
helping the residents of Blythe Township make informed factual decisions with regard to this opportunity. An online
discussion forum link will also be available. We encourage posting comments and questions, but request that you
please be factual and respectful of others. For your convenience, and If called for, an online petition to Blythe Twp.'s
elected and appointed officials, as well as State and Federal officials, will be made available.
Please note that this website is planned for growth to meet the informational needs of the people that use it. Kindly
revisit this site as information will be added weekly, if not more frequently.
Thank you for visiting and your interest in this opportunity.
DiRenzo Coal Co.
Taxpayer of Blythe Township and the Pottsville / St Clair. School District
|Below are Links to Supporting Pages
all of the following text lines are clickable...
|SCROLL DOWN TO REVIEW THE ORIGINAL "OPPORTUNITY FOR BLYTHE"
WEBSITE AND WATER STORAGE PROPOSAL
|Official Website of..,
The Silver Creek Pumped Storage Project
IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of September, 2, 2015,
Virterras Hydropower, Inc. is the holder of the FERC
Preliminary Permit for the Silver Creek Pumped Storage
Project referenced on this website. See this link for
Virterras Hydro FERC Preliminary Permit