Alcoa’s Certification Meets Watershed Management Criteria

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI), an independent, nonprofit dedicated to reducing the impacts of hydropower generation through the certification of environmentally responsible hydropower, certified Alcoa Power Generating’s (APGI) Tapoco hydroelectric project as meeting and exceeding stringent operating requirements, according to Alcoa.

APGI’s Tapoco project, the largest hydropower project to be certified by LIHI on the east coast and the first to receive an eight-year certification in recognition of meeting watershed management criteria, consists of four powerhouses and four dams located in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina totaling 350 MW of electric generation capacity. The certification comes on the heels of APGI’s recent completion of its second turbine upgrade at the Calderwood powerhouse in eastern Tennessee, which resulted in 14 MW of additional peak generation capacity. When the third and last turbine at Calderwood is upgraded in mid-2006, Calderwood’s total demonstrated capacity will increase by 42 MW. “This project is part of Alcoa’s commitment to increase the use of natural, renewable energy sources such as hydropower that help lower emissions and reduce contributions to global warming,” said Kevin Anton, Alcoa Materials Management president. “In addition to increasing Calderwood’s capacity by 37 percent, the new turbines improve efficiency and generate up to 6 percent more energy with the same water flow.” The Calderwood powerhouse is undergoing upgrades as part of Alcoa’s overall $187 million program to improve the Tapoco hydroelectric system. The program began in 2002 and involves upgrading 13 hydroelectric generating units and other system infrastructure over a 15-year period. As one of the founding members of the Green Power Market Development Group convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in 2000, Alcoa is one of 13 corporations seeking to develop corporate markets for 1,000 MW of new green power. The incremental 42 MW at Calderwood is part of nearly 360 MW of green power resources the group has initiated. Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted a 40-year relicense for the Tapoco project. LIHI certification is a voluntary program designed to help identify and reward hydropower dams that meet LIHI’s strict criteria that measures water quality, watershed protection, fish passage and protection, threatened and endangered species protection, river flows, recreation and cultural resource protection.
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