Hydro Project Receives Low Impact Certification

Reliant Energy’s Beaver River project recently became the first hydropower facility in New York State to earn the Low Impact Hydropower Institute’s (LIHI) Low Impact Hydropower Facility certification.

Syracuse, New York – October 28, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] This voluntary program is designed to help identify environmentally sound, low impact hydropower facilities. LIHI is a non-profit organization based in Portland, Maine, which offers this certification for hydropower facilities nationwide to help energy consumers in emerging “green” markets. “This five-year certification of the Beaver River project is a wonderful endorsement that speaks to our ongoing, stringent efforts as a renewable energy producer to work in concert with the environment that surrounds our generating plants,” said David Youlen, Reliant’s Hydro Generation managing director. “Not only is the Beaver River project a first-of-a-kind in New York, but it is only the seventh hydropower plant in the country to receive certification from such a respected organization.” Reliant owns and operates 71 hydro facilities in New York with a total operating capacity of 672 MW. Reliant’s Beaver River project is located on the Beaver River in upstate New York, northeast of Syracuse. The Beaver River is a tributary to the Black River, which flows into Lake Ontario. The project consists of eight, separate hydropower plants that are licensed as one project: Moshier, Eagle, Soft Maple, Effley, Elmer, Taylorville, Belfort and High Falls. The project was re-licensed by the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission in 1996. The plants were constructed between 1898 and 1930, offering an installed capacity of 44.8 MW and an average annual generation of 197,285 MWh. The Beaver River project is operated in a peaking mode (water is stored and released in accordance with energy needs, subject to restrictions for environmental protection), while providing the base flow downstream of High Falls, the last Reliant plant on the river. “This unanimous decision by our governing board should send a clear message that even multiple dam hydropower facilities with complex configurations can operate with low impact to key natural resources, and, at the same time, offer enhanced value to shareholders and customers alike,” said Richard Roos-Collins, chair of LIHI’s Governing Board. To receive the certification, Reliant had to demonstrate that the Beaver River project met LIHI’s eight, environmentally rigorous, low impact criteria, addressing: river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether or not the dam itself has been recommended for removal. Reliant successfully completed LIHI’s application process, which included a public comment period, review by an independent technical consultant, consultations with state and federal resource agencies, and evaluation by the LIHI Governing Board, which includes leaders in the river conservation and renewable energy fields.
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