Industry News

Washington, Maine projects seek FERC certification for tax credits

Hydroelectric project operators in Washington and Maine have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to certify incremental generation at their projects for renewable energy production tax credits (PTC) or for a tax grant in lieu of the PTC.

Certification sought for projects on Snoqualmie, South Fork

Hydro operators in Washington asked FERC to certify incremental generation at their projects on the Snolqualmie and South Fork Snoqualmie rivers.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) requested PTC certification based on $250 million in improvements to the Snoqualmie Falls hydroelectric project, adding 10 MW to bring the historic Snoqualmie River facility to 54.4 MW.

Instead of seeking certification for a production tax credit, PSE asked FERC for a tax grant in lieu of the PTC, as allowed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A request for FERC certification is a prerequisite for issuance of a tax grant by the Treasury Department.

PSE said modeling indicated the improvements would increase annual generation to 260,100 MWh, an increase of 22,030 MWh or 9.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Twin Falls Hydro Associates L.P. asked FERC to certify incremental generation based on its plan to install an automatic trash rake system to its 24-MW Twin Falls project on the South Fork Snoqualmie River. The hydro operator said debris loading occurs at the project continuously, reducing flows and generation.

Twin Falls Hydro said the project’s existing baseline generation is 69,339 MWh. It said modeling of generation after trash rake installation, expected by April 2011, shows annual generation of 70,596 MWh, an increase of 1,256 MWh.

Maine project seeks certification for inflatable flashboard system

Southern New Hampshire Hydroelectric (SNHH) seeks FERC certification of incremental generation resulting from the addition of an inflatable flashboard system at its 820-kW Swan Falls project on Maine’s Saco River.

Consultant Kleinschmidt Associates filed the request on behalf of SNHH, saying prior to installation of the inflatable system, wooden flashboards would trip within a foot of overtopping, reducing headpond level 5.8 feet and generation accordingly. It said it took a minimum of 30 days to replace the flashboards once high flows subsided.

Kleinschmidt said the project’s existing baseline generation is 2,469 MWh. It said modeling of generation after inflatable flashboard installation shows annual generation of 3,605 MWh, an increase of 1,136 MWh or 46 percent.

USCID conference to include focus on low-head hydropower

The U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (USCID) is planning a conference that will include a focus on low-head hydropower applications for water districts. The conference is planned for April 26-29, 2011, in Albuquerque, N.M.

The USCID conference is intended to provide a multi-disciplinary forum to exchange ideas and information and discuss emerging challenges and opportunities for irrigation and water resource managers.

Energy, efficiency and infrastructure topics are included in the conference, along with topics related to water conservation, watershed management, new technologies, and legal and regulatory issues. In addition, an exhibition will feature companies providing products and services related to water resources.

Conference topics include: Low Head Hydro Applications for Water Districts, Integrated Water and Energy Planning, Irrigation Efficiency and Water Conservation, Innovative Technologies, Upgrading Infrastructure, and New and/or Alternative Water Sources.

Visit for additional information and the call for papers.

Hydro foundation announces fellow application cycle

The Hydro Research Foundation is soliciting applications for 17 new hydro fellowships for 2011.

These fellowships are made possible by a $3 million grant from the Department of Energy and are designed to attract outstanding new researchers to hydropower.

The Hydro Fellowship Program application period began Nov. 10, 2010. Research priorities along with application materials will be available online at

Applications are due March 11, 2011, with announcement of fellows May 15, 2011. Two-year fellowships will be awarded to approximately 17 graduate and doctoral level students throughout the United States.

For more information about the fellowship program, visit

Contract awarded to Gomez and Sullivan

New York-based engineering and environmental science firm Gomez and Sullivan Engineers received a contract for work at the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Blenheim-Gilboa pumped-storage hydropower project.

Gomez and Sullivan will provide inspection and consulting services for the dam at the Blenheim-Gilboa project, in the Northern Catskill Mountains. The five-year deal is for $230,000.

The facility is subject to federal inspection requirements. Gomez and Sullivan submitted the low bid to do the work, according to NYPA.

Reclamation awards Andritz Hydro generator rewind contract

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $6 million contract to Andritz Hydro to refurbish the Unit 1 generator at Spring Creek hydro plant on Keswick Reservoir in northern California.

The generator rewind process includes replacement of the stator core and other components. Disassembly and reassembly of the rotating machinery will be accomplished by Reclamation’s Northern California Area Office employees. The contract includes an option for the second unit at this two-unit facility for $4 million.

The Spring Creek Powerplant is a feature of the Trinity River Division of the Central Valley Project, with a combined generating capacity of 190 MW.

Rentricity installs energy recovery system

Rentricity Inc., a New York City-based renewable energy company, announced it has completed a turn-key installation of a 30 kW energy recovery system for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County’s (MAWC) water system.

The site is a mandated release point at the Beaver Run Pump Station in Saltsburg, Penn.

MAWC serves 125,000 customers in a five county region and has three water treatment plants, which can produce more than 70 million gallons of water per day. The project received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the Energy Harvest Grant program.

U.S. awards contract for modification of Glendo project

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded Montana-based Johnson Wilson Constructors Inc. a $16.7 million contract to modify 38-MW Glendo dam and hydropower project in Wyoming.

Work is to include a temporary bypass roadway on the dam, cast-in-place concrete for various features, shotcrete, roller-compacted concrete, excavation of existing dam and dike embankments, excavation for auxiliary spillway, construction of raised dam and dike embankments, excavation and construction of embankments for Glendo Park road relocation, road relocation construction and road reconstruction on the top of the dam.

FERC reissues guidelines for expanded civil penalties power

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reissued its new civil penalty guidelines after a five-month suspension of the rules for further public comment.

FERC had suspended the guidelines in April, only a month after their original issuance.

The new guidelines outline how FERC will wield new civil penalty authority granted to the agency by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The policy statement guidelines are modeled on parts of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, with modifications specific to FERC issues.

FERC adopted the guidelines after four years’ experience with its expanded authority under the 2005 energy act. The act expanded FERC power under the Federal Power Act and extended FERC authority to cover violations of the Natural Gas Act.

The commission said the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines provide an effective analytical model that fits commission purposes because they focus on the same factors that are at the heart of FERC’s enforcement authority, such as seriousness of the violation and efforts to remedy the violation.

“The modified penalty guidelines will base penalties on the same factors as those in existing enforcement policy statements, but will be applied with more focus by assigning specific and transparent weight to each factor,” the agency said.

The guidelines will apply to penalties FERC assesses for violations of its requirements, though the commission retains the discretion to depart from them when it deems it appropriate. FERC’s Enforcement staff continues to have discretion to close investigations and self-reports for violations that do not warrant sanctions.

Bridge, gantry crane upgrade contract awarded for Folsom Dam

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded Crane America Services Inc. a $1.5 million contract for control upgrade and modernization of bridge and gantry cranes at the 198.72-MW Folsom Dam hydro project on California’s American River.

Reclamation seeks replacement or refurbishment of components of a 275-ton-capacity bridge crane and a 140-ton-capacity gantry crane.

PennWell launches Power Generation University

PennWell Corporation, a diversified global media and information company, launched Power Generation University, an innovative and cost-effective way for electric power industry professionals to continue their education.

Power Generation University builds on the editorial excellence of the magazines Hydro Review, Power Engineering and Renewable Energy North America. These magazines are known to power generation professionals throughout the world as leaders in quality, integrity, and unparalleled content excellence.

Owned and operated by PennWell Corporation, Power Generation University develops and publishes high-quality courses relevant to a wide variety of power generation sources and allows industry professionals to take courses, complete tests and receive Professional Development Hours (PDH) in a convenient online format that’s available 24 hours a day. Power Generation University courses are relevant to the biomass, coal, oil, gas, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, ocean/tidal/stream power, solar and wind industries.

“Our goal is to provide industry professionals with relevant, topical educational content that is easily accessible via a low cost online platform,” said Marla Barnes, Publisher of Hydro Review magazine. “Power Generation University has assembled and continues to seek out the brightest and most innovative professionals to serve as university faculty.”

Industry professionals may also receive Professional Development Hours (PDH) by attending conference sessions of POWER-GEN International, NUCLEAR POWER International, HydroVision International, COAL-GEN, Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America and Photovoltaics World Conference & Expo when registered as full conference delegates.

“Power Generation University is a natural extension of what PennWell’s Power Group is already offering with its publications and at all of its events – POWER-GEN International, Coal-Gen, HydroVision International, Nuclear Power International and Renewable Energy World North America,” said Richard G. Baker, Senior Vice President of PennWell’s power generation division. “This is a comprehensive way for our customers to obtain the continuing education they require to perform their jobs in the professional manner in which the industry requires.”

For more information on Power Generation University visit

U.S. awards contract for fish ladder water intake structure

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract to Triad Mechanical Inc. to replace traveling screens at the 980-MW McNary dam and hydro project on Oregon’s Columbia River.

The contract, worth $769,807, is for supply and installation of two 10-foot-wide by 74-foot-long traveling screens to replace Rex-style traveling screens on McNary’s Oregon shore fish ladder auxiliary water supply intake structure.

FERC certifies sixth unit of 168.4-MW North Georgia project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certified incremental generation for production tax credits of a sixth unit of the 168.4-MW North Georgia hydroelectric project in Georgia and South Carolina.

Multi-state utility Southern Co. received FERC certification in December 2009 for efficiency improvements from upgrading and replacing five turbine-generators of North Georgia that were placed in service in 2008. The six-dam, six-powerhouse North Georgia project is on the Tugalo River in Georgia and the Tallulah River in South Carolina.

On June 9, FERC certified additional generation at Unit 3, the sixth and final generating unit to be upgraded at the project. FERC certified a historical generation baseline for the unit of 17,097 MWh and incremental generation from the improvements of 66.2 MWh, an increase of 0.39 percent in generation.

Contract awarded for salmon and steelhead restoration project

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $6.84 million contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for Phase 1B of the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project to construct a tailrace connector and penstock bypass at the Inskip Powerhouse, part of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Battle Creek Hydroelectric Project.

The contract includes building a small bypass at Coleman Diversion Dam on the South Fork of Battle Creek. The project is in Shasta and Tehama counties near Manton, Calif.

The contract was awarded to RTA Construction of Redding, Calif. The restoration project will restore Chinook salmon and steelhead habitat along 48 miles of Battle Creek and its tributaries while maintaining continued production of hydroelectric power. Habitat restoration and enhancement will enable safe passage, growth and recovery of Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead. All of the fish are listed as threatened or endangered. Construction is expected to begin in September.

FERC staff endorses removal of 4.6-MW Kilarc-Cow Creek

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) endorsing the surrender and decommissioning of the 4.6-MW Kilarc-Cow Creek hydroelectric project from Old Cow and South Cow creeks in Shasta County, Calif.

In the draft EIS, issued June 22, FERC staff backs the proposed surrender of the project license by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which determined the project is no longer economically viable.

The project consists of two forebays and five diversion dams, 20 canal sections, flumes, tunnels, spillways, one siphon, two penstocks, and two powerhouses with tailraces, switchyards, and transmission facilities. The run-of-river project generates 31,100 MWh annually.

FERC staff recommended approval of PG&E’s proposal to remove the diversion dams and allow for free passage of fish and sediment. The utility proposes to leave in place some diversion dam abutments and foundations to protect stream banks and provide grade control. PG&E also proposes leaving in place the powerhouse structures with an option of their preservation for future use. The utility would remove turbine-generators and other equipment.

FERC staff estimated cost of project decommissioning and removal at $9 million.

Overhaul planned for Lewiston hydro plant

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) said it is planning a major overhaul of the 2,755-MW Niagara Power Project’s Lewiston Pump Generating-Plant (LPGP) to extend the life of the project’s auxiliary facility and enhance its performance.

The NYPA Board of Trustees approved a $460 million Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) Program for the 240-MW LPGP facility, which operates during periods of peak power demand in supplementing the electricity output of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, the Niagara Project’s main generating facility.

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