Watts up? Valatie’s hydro plant returns

VALATIE—On April 26 at 1:46 p.m., the door to the waters of the Kinderhook Creek was opened and Valatie Falls Hydro began generating power for the first time since June of 2018. The plant is off of Route 203 at the entrance to Main Street in the Village of Valatie.

The Valatie Falls (VF) Hydro plant will be providing continuous power of approximately 160 kW and will eventually be providing direct energy to the village, as well as charging the electric vehicles of PlugIn Stations Online, according to a press release from company President John Doran.

“I think it’s going to be great for the village,” Valatie Mayor Frank Bevens told The Columbia Paper. He did say that currently the village could not use the power from the plant yet, but it will be good “when we are able to.”

Valatie Falls Hydro in the Village of Valatie. Photo contributed

“I think they’ve done a great job over there,” Mayor Bevens said of the plant.

Purchased in April of 2020, the team at VF Hydro and PlugIn Stations Online spent the past year rebuilding the plant and refurbishing the offices on the upper level. “With the help of former owners Fred and Bob Munch as well as Jim Clevenstine from Clevenstine Engineering, this FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) registered project was able to get back online,” according to the release.

The Valatie Falls Hydro plant was home to the Valatie Falls Cotton Mill from 1845 to 1945. According to the release, it first produced power in the early 1990s. The site is also famous for being the location for filming the final scene of the last movie Harry Houdini made, “Haldane of the Secret Service.”

PlugIn Stations Online (PISO), the company that owns the plant, provides sales, installation and service of electric vehicle charging stations. It has installed electric vehicle charging stations in Hudson, Greenport and Claverack, as well as the Villages of Kinderhook and Valatie. The company’s headquarters are in an office park in Valatie on Route 9, which has one of their charging stations in the parking lot.

According to the company’s website, PlugIn has “installed hundreds of stations since 2011 and we have hundreds of happy customers.”

“The team at VF Hydro is proud to be producing clean energy for the community once more and we look forward to years of production and continuing the great relationship with the Village of Valatie and great people that live and work here,” reads a statement in a press release from Mr. Doran.

The surrounding towns and two villages have been working on clean energy projects for the past few years. There are currently electric vehicle charging stations in several towns in the county, funded mostly with state grants. The Towns of Chatham and Ghent both discussed increasing the fees of their charging stations at Town Board meetings in April. Ghent Town Board member Mallory Mort pointed out that Ghent set the fees on the charging station when gas prices were lower. Both towns received state grants in 2017 to put in the EV charging stations. They have both used ChargePoint Charging Stations, and both charging stations are in the Village of Chatham. The Ghent charging station is at Depot Square while the Town of Chatham’s charger is on Railroad Avenue.

‘I think they’ve done a great job over there,.’

Mayor Frank Bevens

Village of Valatie

The Town of Kinderhook also has a charging station in the parking lot of the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building and the Village of Kinderhook has a charging station in the municipal parking lot in Hudson Street.

The charging stations were one of several actions municipalities could take to become a state certified NYSERDA Clean Energy Community. (NYSERDA is the State Energy Research and Development Authority.) Several local municipalities met the goals for the program, which comes with some state grant money for energy saving projects.

Part of President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan includes a $15 billion investment to build a national network of 500,000 charging stations, along with other clean energy projects. “Through a combination of grant and incentive programs for state and local governments and the private sector, it will support a transformational acceleration in deployment of a mix of chargers in apartment buildings, in public parking, throughout communities, and as a robust fast charging along our nation’s roadways,” according to a press release from the White House.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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