Industry News

FERC certifies credits for hydro in three states

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certified incremental generation at hydroelectric projects in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Maine for renewable energy production tax credits.

Commission certifies replacement units at 108-MW Holtwood

FERC approved a request by PPL Holtwood LLC to certify incremental generation resulting from replacement of two 1.18-MW turbine-generators at the 108-MW Holtwood hydroelectric project in Pennsylvania.

FERC amended the project license in October 2009 authorizing upgrades to Units 11 and 13, effective in December 2010. The upgrade work is separate from the 125-MW Holtwood Expansion project, which is more than doubling the overall installed capacity of the Holtwood project, on the Susquehanna River.

FERC certified, on Aug. 11, Holtwood’s annual historical baseline generation of 598,552 MWh and incremental generation of 14,692 MWh, or a 2.5 percent increase from the improvements.

Unit upgrade wins tax credit for 7.92-MW Cascade

The commission approved a request by Great Lakes Hydro America LLC to certify incremental generation resulting from the upgrade of Unit 3 of the 7.92-MW Cascade hydroelectric project on the Androscoggin River in New Hampshire. FERC said Aug. 4 that the improvement became operational in January 2010.

The commission certified Cascade’s annual historical baseline generation of 52,407 MWh and incremental generation of 1,132 MWh, or a 2.16 percent increase, for new annual generation of 53,539 MWh.

FERC awards certification to 37.232-MW Gulf Island-Deer Rips

FERC approved on Aug. 5 a request by NextEra Energy Maine Operating Services LLC for certification of incremental generation for an upgrade of Unit 3 at the 37.232-MW Gulf Island-Deer Rips project on the Androscoggin River in Maine.

FERC certified the project’s annual historical generation baseline of 141,338 MWh and incremental generation of 2,797 MWh, a 1.98 percent increase, for new total annual generation of 144,135 MWh.

NextEra seeks certification of two more FPL projects in Maine

NextEra Energy filed for FERC certification of incremental generation at two more FPL Energy Maine projects in Maine.

NextEra asked FERC Aug. 8 to certify additional incremental generation at the 14.75-MW Weston project on the Kennebec River in Somerset County, Maine. The commission issued an order in 2010 certifying incremental generation at Weston due to replacement of the Unit 1 turbine runner.

In its latest application, NextEra asked for certification of efficiency improvements for replacement of the Unit 3 turbine runner with a more efficient runner and the rewinding of its generator. The 4.5-MW unit went into service in December 2010.

Duke seeks tax credits for new 31.5-MW Bridgewater

Duke Energy Carolinas LLC filed Aug. 10 for FERC certification of incremental generation at the Bridgewater development of its 724.4-MW Catawba-Wateree hydroelectric project in South Carolina and North Carolina.

FERC issued an order in July amending the project license to allow Duke to replace the 20-MW Bridgewater development with a new 31.5-MW powerhouse. The work is being performed to meet FERC dam stability guidelines for Linville Dam. Duke also is awaiting issuance of a relicense for the entire Catawba-Wateree project.

Minimum flow unit to be added for tax credit at 4-MW North Hartland

North Hartland LLC filed Aug. 5, asking FERC to certify additional incremental generation at the 4-MW North Hartland hydroelectric project on the Ottauquechee River in Windsor County, Vt.

FERC certified the project in 2009 for efficiency improvements achieved from modifying a penstock and control system, and from other work involving interconnection equipment, and a turbine and generator cooling system.

The licensee now seeks certification of incremental generation to come from the addition of a 137-kW minimum flow turbine-generator at North Hartland, which when completed in late 2011 is to increase total capacity to 4.137 MW.

Certification sought again for upgrade at 721-MW Clark Fork

Avista Utilities filed for certification of incremental generation at the 721-MW Clark Fork project on the Clark Fork River in Idaho and Montana. The current filing cites an increase at the project’s 456-MW Noxon Rapids development in Montana.

FERC earlier this year certified or recertified for production tax credits the incremental generation resulting from three separate upgrades at Clark Fork.

Avista now seeks certification of incremental generation due to efficiency improvements from installation of a new turbine runner on Noxon Rapids Unit 2. The unit was placed in service in May.

Alcoa seeks certification for first phase upgrade of 140-MW Cheoah

Alcoa Power Generating Inc. asked FERC to certify incremental generation for the first phase of its upgrade of the 140-MW Cheoah development of its 380-MW Tapoco hydroelectric project on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah rivers in Tennessee.

Alcoa cites incremental generation from replacement of turbine runners, generators, wicket gates, and related equipment of Units 1 and 2 of the Cheoah development, to be complete in March 2012. Once four of Cheoah’s five turbine-generators are replaced with high-efficiency units, the project’s original installed capacity of 118 MW will increase to 140 MW as authorized by a 2009 license amendment approved by FERC.

Developer tries to reverse FERC dismissal of 500-MW Lake Elsinore

Developer Nevada Hydro Co. appealed to members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reverse FERC staff’s dismissal of a seven-year-old application to license the 500-MW Lake Elsinore pumped-storage project, proposed with a related transmission line for southern California.

Director Jeff Wright of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects issued an order July 12 dismissing the license application for the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped-Storage (LEAPS) project due to long-standing disagreements between Nevada Hydro and its co-applicant, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District.

“During the course of the proceeding, it has become apparent that Nevada Hydro’s primary interest is developing the LEAPS project’s transmission line, which it ultimately hopes to use to transport electric power between the systems of major California utilities, rather than building a pumped-storage project and its associated transmission lines,” the FERC order said. “Elsinore Valley, on the other hand, wants to develop a pumped-storage project as proposed and improve the water quality of Lake Elsinore through the operation of that project.”

FERC exempts Maryland hydro, reports Montana project on line

During the month of June, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted a hydropower license exemption to a small Maryland project and reported that the 7.7-MW Upper Turnbull project went on line in Montana.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for June 2011, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, said FERC granted a conduit exemption to the city of Frostburg, Md., for the 75-kW Frostburg Low Head hydro project on the city’s raw water supply line in Alleghany County, Md. The project is to generate 240 megawatt-hours annually.

Also during June, FERC issued a license amendment increasing capacity by 12.612 MW.

It also said it received applications for a capacity amendment that would increase capacity by 4.31 MW and two conduit exemption applications totaling 571 kW.

Included in the June highlights, FERC said Turnbull Hydro LLC brought the 7.7-MW Upper Turnbull project on line in Teton County, Mont. Construction of the project was completed in one year on the Spring Valley Canal.

Persistent Green Island again denied bid

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission quashed an attempt by Green Island Power Authority to challenge the relicensing of Erie Boulevard Hydropower L.P.’s 49.8-MW School Street hydroelectric project in New York.

FERC issued a 40-year relicense in 2007 to Erie Boulevard Hydropower for the upgrade and continued operation of School Street, which diverts water from the Mohawk River upstream of Cohoes Falls, bypassing 4,500 feet of riverbed, including the falls, New York’s second tallest.

In relicensing the project, FERC has rejected several attempts by Green Island to propose the competing 100-MW Cohoes Falls project in lieu of renewing School Street.

FERC has noted the Cohoes Falls project only could be developed if School Street — which has generated power since 1916 — were decommissioned and removed.

FERC rejected a 2004 motion by Green Island to intervene in School Street’s relicensing, finding the motion was filed 13 years late in the proceeding, which began in 1991.

Elgin Equipment Group to acquire Cook Legacy

Cook Legacy and Elgin Equipment Group, the parent company of Norris Screen, entered into an agreement in which Cook Legacy is being acquired by EEG.

The announcement was made at HydroVision International 2011 in Sacramento, Calif.

The newly-formed Cook Legacy and Elgin Equipment Group will provide a full scope of design and fabrication for fish screens, water intake systems, specialty coatings and small hydropower systems.

JHP to equip Lewiston plant in California

JHP & Associates Inc. has been awarded a contract by Trinity Public Utilities District to design and supply a complete water to wire system for their Lewiston hydro plant upgrade, the firm announced.

The two 1.1-MW Francis units will include turbine, generator, governor, brushless excitation, inlet valve, bifurcation, as well as the control system. The units will replace a 350-kW generator at the Lewiston Dam’s hydro plant near Weaverville, Calif.

Initial system design is under way to prepare drawings and specs for the civil design. The system is expected to be delivered within one year.

FERC institutes regulatory review per Obama order

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agreed to implement an executive order by President Obama calling for independent regulatory agencies to engage in a public effort to reassess and streamline their regulations.

Obama issued an order July 11 calling for the action by independent federal regulators to analyze rules that might be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. The president, who issued a similar order to executive branch agencies in January, said such rules should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.

GEI announces new projects, including dam and levee projects

GEI Consultants Inc., a leading geotechnical, environmental, water resources and ecological science and engineering firm, announced several new projects awarded to the company, including several projects dealing with dams.

Contract for irrigation, power and dam safety engineering Bureau of Indian Affairs

GEI has been selected for a $5 million, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to provide irrigation, power and safety of dams engineering services to the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Division. The program is responsible for the management of all irrigation, dam and power facilities owned by BIA. GEI’s professional engineering contract with the BIA encompasses planning and feasibility studies; dam rehabilitation design; geotechnical and civil/structural engineering; hydrology/hydraulics; construction management; value engineering; and seismic analysis services for Native American irrigation and dam facilities nationwide.

Geotechnical services in support of the Green River Levee FEMA accreditation City of Kent, Wash.

GEI has been selected to perform geotechnical engineering services for the City of Kent, Washington in support of Federal Emergency Management Agency Accreditation for the Green River Levee. GEI will evaluate a 2.8 mile long reach extending from SR 516 to S 231 Way. The City has initiated an engineering evaluation and certification process for the levee along the right bank of the Green River with an overall objective of obtaining accreditation in its flood insurance rate maps for the area. The Green River Levee protects land uses ranging from residential developments to commercial and industrial properties.

Seismic evaluations at Santa Felicia Dam United Water Conservation District, Ventura County, Calif.

GEI has been retained by the United Water Conservation District to perform seismic analyses on the intake tower and penstock outlet pipe for the Santa Felicia Dam in Ventura County, Calif.

Constructed in 1955 and located on Piru Creek near the Los Padres National Forest, the Santa Felicia Dam is 213-feet-high and stores more than 88,000 acre-feet of winter runoff from the Piru Creek watershed.

This runoff replenishes underground aquifers and is made available to local municipalities for industry and agriculture.

Boney Falls Dam, Michigan Integrys Group

GEI was engaged by Integrys Group, the Wisconsin-based utility, to investigate the cause of seepage beneath the Boney Falls Dam on the Escanaba River in Michigan.

Due to the findings of GEI’s extensive investigation, as well as data collected previously at Boney Falls Dam, several leakage pathways were verified and several likely remediation scenarios were proposed.

GEI will design a cut-off technology for the east embankment of the dam, and will provide updated risk analysis.

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