In 2009, NOAA awarded $6.1 million in economic stimulus money to Penobscot River Restoration Trust to help fund removal of the Great Works project. The allotment was part of $167 million in NOAA awards announced June 2009.
In the summer of 2009, scientists began collecting baseline monitoring data around the three dams that can be compared with data that will be collected after dam removal work begins. Monitoring will be conducted in 2012 and 2013 (during dam removal) and in 2014 and 2015 (to measure the early effects of dam removal on the restoration of fisheries and on changes in geomorphology, water quality, wetlands and marine nutrients).
And in June 2010, FERC accepted the surrender of these three hydro project licenses, clearing the way for the trust to remove Great Works and Veazie.
Great Works will be the first dam removed, and final engineering designs for this work are complete. The work is scheduled to take place from June to November 2012. Removal of Veazie Dam is anticipated to occur in 2013 and 2014.
In June 2010, FERC issued a draft EIS endorsing the surrender and decommissioning of the 4.6-MW Kilarc-Cow Creek project on Old Cow and South Cow creeks in Shasta County, Calif.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began the process to relicense the project in 2002 but concluded in 2004 that the cost of the protection, mitigation and enhancement measures for the resources affected by the project would outweigh the economic benefit of generation over the life of a new license, resulting in an uneconomic source of power for its customers.
Consequently, in March 2005, PG&E entered into the Kilarc-Cow Creek Project Agreement signed by eight other parties, including resource agencies and nongovernmental organizations. PG&E agreed not to file an application for a new license by the statutory deadline of March 27, 2005, and instead support project decommissioning. In exchange, the other signatories agreed to support a scope of decommissioning that would address specified subjects but provide PG&E with the flexibility to address those subjects in a cost-effective manner.
Once the deadline passed for PG&E to file an application for a new license, FERC invited other entities to file a notice of intent to obtain a new license to operate the project. One entity filed an NOI but failed to file an application within the 18-month timeframe. Thus, in March 2009, the company filed an application to surrender its license for Kilarc-Cow Creek.
The project consists of two forebays and five diversion dams, 20 canal sections, flumes, tunnels, spillways, one siphon, two penstocks and two powerhouses. The project generates 31,300 MWh annually.
In its 2009 license surrender application, PG&E proposed to remove the diversion dams and allow for free passage of fish. The utility proposed to leave in place some abutments and foundations to protect stream banks and provide grade control. PG&E also proposed leaving in place the historic powerhouse structures, with an option of their preservation. The utility would remove turbine-generators and other equipment.
In the 2011 final EIS, FERC estimates the cost of decommissioning the project at $9 million. Benefits include restoring natural flows and improving water quality in the Old Cow and South Cow creeks and tributaries, enhancing aquatic habitat in the current bypassed reaches for resident and anadromous species. Adverse impacts identified in the final EIS include the socioeconomic effects to a group that uses water discharged from the Cow Creek powerhouse for irrigation and loss of aquatic habitat in the 4.5-acre Kilarc and 1-acre Cow Creek forebays.
In August 2011, FERC issued a final EIS supporting, with staff modifications, the proposed decommissioning. The California Water Resources Control Board is reviewing potential environmental impacts of the project, which is required before FERC can issue an order to decommission.
To add your comments you must sign-in or create a free account.
Hydro Review's goal is to provide readers with reliable, relevant information on the issues and challenges encountered in the hydro industry. Hydro Review offers practical, useful information, helpful examples, and constructive guidance...