HAMILTON, Ohio --
Hamilton could break ground within weeks on a new, $500 million hydroelectric plant.
The city and state received a federal permit Monday they've waited two decades to obtain, and officials said only one more easily obtained permit is needed before work can begin.
Once that permit is granted, work will begin on the Meldahl Hydroelectric Project at the Ohio Rivers Meldahl Locks and Dam in Bracken County.
The project is expected to create nearly 600 jobs in that area, officials said, including nearly 100 as soon as excavation work begins.
Numerous cities are part of the AMP-Ohio project, but Hamilton is the largest participant and so will receive 51 percent of the plant's output.
Officials said the hydroelectric plant, which will take about four years to build, will provide cleaner and potentially cheaper energy to customers.
The plant will use water instead of coal, which fluctuates in price.
"To think we could make our power for water, which is zero emissions (and) very clean, I think people should be very proud," said project manager Tom Leibham.
Hamilton already has one hydroelectric project in Greenup, Ky.
That plant, which was licensed in 1976 and has operated commercially since 1982, has three turbines with total capacity of 70,000 kilowatts.
Once the new plant goes online, Hamilton will get 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Copyright 2010 by WLWT.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.