Steam Heat Plant is Unique

| September/October 1985

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Editors note: The following article is reprinted from the Pennsylvania Power & Light Reporter, with permission.

Mention a generating plant and most of us think of electric generating units.

PP&L's oldest active generation facility doesn't produce electricity, though. It produces steam for heating.

The Walnut plant in Harrisburg was built in 1890 by Excelsior Electric Co. of Harrisburg. It was designed originally as a hydroelectric project with steam equipment.

The hydroelectric units utilized 'state-of-the-art' technology four water wheels which drew their power from the adjacent Pennsylvania Canal. Lighting in downtown Harrisburg was provided by power generated from these wheels, while steam produced at the plant heated homes and businesses in the area. As the years passed, the electric facilities at Walnut were upgraded until the capacity reached 1,750 kilowatts.

In 1928, Excelsior merged with PP&L. As a result of this merger, one of the most durable plants in the system became an important link in providing 'service' to PP&L customers.