Industry News

Developer studies feasibility of reviving 70-MW Tapps Lake

A developer is studying the feasibility of restoring power generation at Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Lake Tapps Dam, part of the formerly licensed 70-MW White River hydroelectric project in Washington.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a three-year preliminary permit to developer Don Hansen of Renton, Wash., granting permission to study the feasibility of a 70-MW Tapps Lake Dam hydroelectric project. The permit expires at the end of June 2010.

The project would include the utility’s existing 11-foot-tall, 352-foot-long White River diversion dam and its impoundment, with surface area of 2,880 acres and storage capacity of 67,000 acre-feet. It also would include two existing intake structures, an existing powerhouse containing four generating units, and an existing transmission line.

The White River project was built in 1911. PSE closed the plant in 2004 after arguing the project no longer was viable, based on a biological opinion that required mitigation to benefit endangered chinook salmon.

A number of parties, including PSE, Cascade Water Alliance, and the Puyallup Indian Tribe, objected to Hansen’s preliminary permit application and urged the commission to deny it. However, FERC said it is premature for the commission to consider arguments that the proposed project would interfere with other possible uses of the site. FERC said such issues could properly be raised once a license application for the project is filed.

Cascade Water Alliance, an organization of eight municipal corporations, is interested in developing Lake Tapps as a water supply source. The alliance said it entered a memorandum of understanding with PSE, giving Alliance exclusive rights to negotiate the purchase of the White River project. At one time, PSE and Cascade Water Alliance had hoped to complete agreements by August 2005 for the sale of Lake Tapps to Cascade.

PSE said it still is negotiating a sale of project works with the Cascade Water Alliance aimed at securing water rights for the alliance. It also is working with the Lake Tapps community under an agreement to provide recreational measures and allowing for the purchase of project works, should negotiations with the water alliance prove unsuccessful.

While PSE rejected a license for the project in 2003, in its motion to intervene it said it does not rule out the resumption of hydropower operations. PSE said that at some point, Cascade Water Alliance, or some other water purveyor, could seek a license from FERC to resume hydropower operations.

North Carolina adopts state renewables portfolio standard

New hydropower up to 10 MW, tidal energy, and wave energy are among eligible resources that investor-owned utilities in North Carolina may use to help meet a newly adopted state renewable energy portfolio standard.

A bill signed by Gov. Mike Easley sets a minimum requirement for investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives to use renewable energy.

The state requires that investor-owned utilities draw on renewable energy for 3 percent of their electricity supply starting in 2012, with the requirement increasing every three years until it reaches 12.5 percent of retail sales by 2021.

Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives must meet a renewables target of 3 percent of retail sales in 2012, growing to 10 percent by 2018. Unlike investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and co-ops are allowed to buy electricity from existing large hydropower facilities to meet the standard, provided those purchases contribute no more than 30 percent to the requirement.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission will administer the program, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. It is preparing a rulemaking that could include more details about what hydropower may be counted toward meeting renewables targets. For example, it is unclear whether incremental hydropower may be counted as new hydro. However, the commission said one utility already is claiming that incremental hydropower it plans to add should be counted.

By promoting development of renewable energy and energy efficiency through implementation of a renewables portfolio standard, the state intends to: diversify resources used to meet consumers’ energy needs; provide greater energy security through the use of indigenous energy resources; encourage private investment; and improve air quality.

Hydro could help Ohio meet advanced energy mandate

Hydropower could contribute to the success of a state energy plan by Ohio’s governor, who proposes, by 2025, at least 25 percent of the electricity sold in the state must be generated from advanced energy technology. At least half of that energy must come from renewable sources, such as hydropower.

The mandates, which require legislative approval, are included in an energy and jobs plan introduced by Gov. Ted Strickland. He said the plan is intended to ensure affordable energy prices and to serve as a catalyst to enhance energy industries in Ohio.

The plan includes an “advanced energy portfolio standard” the governor said would bring energy jobs to Ohio and create new opportunities. The advanced energy portfolio standard would encourage development and deployment of energy technologies, including renewables, clean coal, and fuel cells, and emerging technologies that eventually could reach commercial deployment.

As proposed by the governor, renewables would include new low-impact hydro, biomass, geothermal, solar, anaerobic digesters, wind, and municipal solid waste-to-energy. Plan documents do not define what would qualify as new low-impact hydro.

Under the plan, by 2025, utilities also must meet at least 25 percent of the growth in electricity demand by achieving power saving efficiencies.

Licensing consultant named for Washington’s 30.2-MW Cle Elum

Grant County Public Utility District (PUD) awarded a $500,000 contract to Devine Tarbell & Associates to provide engineering services and environmental studies needed to prepare a license application for the 30.2-MW Cle Elum hydroelectric project in Washington.

Work will include preparation of reports, a preliminary application document, and associated materials through 2011. Devine Tarbell & Associates is to prepare a feasibility report, civil design concepts, drawings, and cost estimates.

The company also is to consult with stakeholders, consistent with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requirements. FERC granted the district a three-year preliminary permit in January to study the project.

The power plant would be constructed along an existing stilling basin at a 165-foot-tall, 1,801-foot-long earthfill dam, which the Bureau of Reclamation operates for multiple purposes. The site is on the Cle Elum River, 10 miles northwest of Cle Elum in central Washington.

Given a range of heads and flows, Grant County PUD said capacity of the powerhouse would be 17.86 to 30.2 MW, with average annual energy production of 30.1 to 43.7 gigawatt-hours.

Xcel Energy to spend $12 million to restore 14-MW Shoshone

Xcel Energy said it will spend about $12 million to return its disabled 14-MW Shoshone hydroelectric plant in Colorado to service by spring 2008.

Xcel shut down the 98-year-old plant in June when one of its two penstocks ruptured, flooding the powerhouse and switching yard with water and debris. The event sent 8 feet of water and tons of rock and soil into the powerhouse, the utility said.

Xcel blamed the rupture on corrosion found on the exterior of the penstock section that failed.

The company said it would repair and upgrade both penstocks before returning the plant to service.

Shoshone is one of seven hydro plants owned and operated by Xcel in Colorado. Located east of Glenwood Springs, it generates electricity from water diverted from the Colorado River. Shoshone began operating in 1909, prior to the Federal Power Act, and is not licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

U.S. awards electrical contract for 428-MW Hungry Horse

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $1.7 million contract to Gardner Zemke Co. to replace two circuit breakers and perform other electrical work at the 428-MW Hungry Horse hydroelectric project in Montana.

Contracted work includes new wiring to existing control boards and new terminal boxes. Gardner Zemke, which is based in Albuquerque, N.M., is to complete the work by Oct. 31, 2008.

Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson said improvements being made under the contract are essential to ensure safe and dependable operation of power generation facilities at the dam. Johnson added that Hungry Horse is a vital source of reliable hydropower for the Pacific Northwest.

Hungry Horse was completed in the 1950s. It is located in a national park on the north fork of the Flathead River, about 20 miles northeast of Kalispell.

Illinois town to buy, expand 600-kW Sears plant

The city of Rock Island, Ill., plans to spend $2.2 million to purchase equipment and leasehold rights for the 600-kW Sears hydroelectric project from White Hydropower Co., and expand its capacity to 1.2 MW.

The Rock Island City Council approved a purchase agreement that calls for spending $1.33 million to acquire the project, on Illinois’ Rock River. The city plans to spend the remaining $870,000 on the expansion, Public Works Director Robert Hawes said.

The expansion would involve rehabilitation of two existing turbines and installation of two new 300-kW generators. The existing turbines and generators would remain in service at the run-of-river facility.

Preliminary work already is in progress on the design and environmental approvals for the capacity expansion.

The project was built in 1912 and operated with a capacity of 1.8 MW under its original ownership until about 1958. At that time, the project was donated to Augustana College. Operations continued until about 1967, when the facility was donated to the state of Illinois, and most generating equipment was removed.

White Hydropower Co. leased real estate and water rights from the state in 1980. It rehabilitated part of the powerhouse and two turbines, and installed generators for those units. The project returned to service in 1985 and has been in operation since that time. The project sells power to MidAmerican Energy Co.

The city plans to fund the initiative by selling general obligation bonds and Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. It would operate the project as an enterprise fund, like the city’s water and sewer utilities. About 95 percent of the revenue generated by the project would be earned by selling electricity to the five largest city-owned energy users. The rest of the revenue would come from sale of excess electricity to MidAmerican.

All expenses of operating the plant, including debt service, would be paid by revenue from power sales, the city said.

Black & Veatch Corp. of Overland Park, Kan., provided technical assistance to the city’s staff to help determine whether to recommend that Rock Island buy the plant. As part of the purchase agreement, the city hired engineer Mitch White, one of two owners of White Hydropower Co., to handle design and construction management of the expansion.

Brookfield considers adding 92-MW Price Dam to portfolio

The company licensed to build and operate 92-MW Price Dam hydroelectric project is considering selling the project to Brookfield Power Corp.

Licensee Price Dam Partnership Ltd. disclosed the potential sale in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which granted its request to extend the project’s construction schedule. The licensee said it sought the extension to allow the parties to fully explore the acquisition and to seek other financial alternatives.

FERC issued a license for the project in 2005. At that time, it set July 28, 2007, as the date construction must begin. The commission issued an order June 11 granting a new deadline to start construction, July 28, 2009. The new date for finishing construction is July 28, 2012.

The project is located at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Mississippi River, near Alton, Ill.

The license required the licensee to reach an agreement with the Corps to coordinate access and construction activities, while protecting federal operations and activities, primarily in support of Mississippi River navigation. The Corps has agreed to allow the licensee to proceed with project design.

U.S. awards governor contract for 52-MW Sam Rayburn

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $740,500 contract to L&S Electric Inc. to upgrade governors at 52-MW Sam Rayburn Dam on the Angelina River north of Jasper, Texas.

L&S Electric of Schofield, Wis., submitted the successful proposal to do the work in response to a solicitation. The Corps made the award in August.

L&S Electric will provide personnel, equipment, oversight, and management to convert mechanical-hydraulic governors of two generating units to new independent and dedicated digital governors, controls, and monitoring systems. Contract documents call for work on the second generator to begin after the government accepts work completed on the first unit.

NAES to build Packwood Lake fish screen containment unit

Licensee Energy Northwest awarded a contract to NAES Power Contractors to build a concrete containment structure to house rotating drum fish screens at the 26.125-MW Packwood Lake hydroelectric project.

Site work began in October and was to be completed that same month, said North American Energy Services Co., the contractor’s parent company. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is manufacturing the new fish screens for installation in the project tailrace.

Packwood Lake is on Lake Creek in Lewis County, Wash. The project began commercial operation in 1964. Its average annual generation totals 94 gigawatt-hours.

NAES Power Contractors provides inspection, maintenance, repair, and construction services. NAES is owned by ITOCHU International Inc., the U.S. affiliate of ITOCHU Corp.

NYPA prepares for more work at 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa

New York Power Authority (NYPA) closed the upper reservoir of the 1,160-MW Bleinheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage project to public recreation to allow construction crews to mobilize for work on a second unit in a $135 million life extension and modernization program.

NYPA began work on the second of the project’s four pump-generator units in mid-September. The unit is to be returned to service in June 2008. Work on remaining units will be done over successive years. The state-owned utility returned the first unit to service Memorial Day weekend.

In addition to closing the upper reservoir to all public recreational activities, including boating and shoreline fishing, NYPA said it would close the lower reservoir.

The life extension and modernization program is scheduled for completion in June 2010. It includes replacement of major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to other parts of the machines. The work will enable NYPA to produce more power from the same amount of water while extending the facility’s record of reliable service.

Blenheim-Gilboa entered service in 1973. It is located in the Catskill Mountains, about 65 miles southwest of Albany, the state capital.

HydroVision 2008 features information exchange

The HydroVision 2008 Conference will offer attendees from around the world many opportunities to exchange information useful for performing their daily work, program organizers said.

More than 2,000 participants from more than 45 countries are expected to attend HydroVision, July 14-18, 2008, in Sacramento, Calif.

Conference advisory and steering committee members and moderators of panel discussion sessions (comprising more than 120 individuals) are designing sessions to maximize opportunities for information exchange.

The conference program consists of sessions organized in topic “tracks.” Seven of the tracks comprise interactive panel discussions, in which a moderator leads a group of panelists in informal discussion sessions. These tracks are:

    – Asset management;
    – Hydraulic structures and safety;
    – New development;
    – Ocean/tidal/stream power;
    – Operations and maintenance;
    – Policies and regulations; and
    – Water resources.

An eighth track features technical paper sessions on a wide variety of topics, presented in both oral presentation and poster gallery formats. More than 250 abstracts were submitted for that track, for review by the 32 members of the Technical Papers Committee.

In addition to the HydroVision program and exhibition, several symposiums, workshops, meetings of professional organizations, and technical tours are being held in conjunction with HydroVision – either prior to or immediately after the conference.

Details about the conference and associated events are on the Internet at To request a printed brochure and registration information, telephone (1) 816-931-1311 or E-mail

Trashrake prompts tax credit for Indiana’s 81-MW Markland

Installation of an automatic trashrake system at the 81-MW Markland hydro project is to reduce head losses and increase generation enough to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to certify the incremental generation as eligible for renewable energy production tax credits.

Licensee PSI Energy, doing business as Duke Energy Indiana, said it plans to increase generation by 7.8 percent from efficiency improvements due to upgrading a trashrake to an automatic trashrake and removal system. The new system is expected to improve efficiency by reducing trash- and debris-induced head losses.

The scheduled in-service date for the new trashrake and removal system is July 1, 2008.

FERC’s order certifies incremental generation totaling 29.7 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), based on a generation baseline of 380.6 million kWh and generation with improvements of 410.3 million kWh. Duke Energy calculated the anticipated improvement in efficiency from recorded trash-induced head loss measurements over a six-month period compared to head losses that could be expected with a clean trashrack.

Markland, on the Ohio River in Indiana, is one of several hydro projects whose incremental generation has been certified for the production tax credit. The most recent project was Duke Energy Carolinas LLC’s 18-MW Ninety-nine Islands in South Carolina, at which the licensee increased efficiency by upgrading turbine-generators.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 applies the tax credit to incremental production from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydroelectric facilities placed into service after Aug. 8, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2009. The section requires FERC to certify historic average annual hydropower production and percentage of average annual hydropower production at a facility attributable to the efficiency improvements or additions to capacity.

New registry to track western U.S. renewables

The California Energy Commission said a newly created renewable energy registry and tracking system for electricity generation will facilitate growth of renewable energy throughout the western U.S.

The Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) was developed in response to policies set by the California Legislature and the Western Governors Association to develop and implement a system tracking renewable energy generation. The system began operating in June, and creates renewable energy certificates for verifiable renewable generation from generating units registered in the system.

For purposes of the program, “renewable” is defined by a state or province within the Western Interconnection System. While the majority of the new renewable capacity is from wind, some hydropower, principally low-impact hydro, is eligible.

WREGIS is the largest system of its kind in the world, in terms of coverage, the Energy Commission said. It covers an area that includes the western U.S., parts of Canada, and part of Baja California in Mexico. It will be used to meet renewables portfolio standards requirements and other renewable energy policies for states and provinces within the Western Interconnection transmission area.

WREGIS will track renewable generation to help ensure the credibility of the “green” value of electricity generated from renewables, the Energy Commission said. The system is expected to make it easier to implement renewables policies and achieve renewable energy goals, it added.

Participation in WREGIS is voluntary. The system is available in the area covered by the Western Interconnection System. WREGIS certificates could be used by electricity suppliers and other energy market participants to comply with state and provincial policies, regulatory programs, and to support voluntary “green” electricity markets.

The California Legislature assigned the California Energy Commission in 2002 the task of developing a tracking system for implementing the state’s renewables portfolio standard. The commission said WREGIS is a critical element for measuring California’s success in meeting a mandate to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2010.

Additional information is available from the Internet at

Climax Machine Tools expands headquarters

Climax Portable Machine Tools Inc. says it is expanding its headquarters in Newberg, Ore., to help meet demand for the company’s machining tools and services.

The company provides on-site machining for the power generation industry.

In August 2007, Climax broke ground on the expansion, a new 14,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the company’s existing headquarters. The company says the new facility will house assembly and rental equipment operations.


In the editorial, “Perspectives,” in the October 2007 issue of Hydro Review (page 8), it was stated that, for hydro projects seeking Production Tax Credits under terms of the U.S.’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 as amended, certification by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must be completed by January 1, 2009. This is incorrect. Instead, the Act requires that efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydroelectric facilities be placed in service after August 8, 2005, and before January 1, 2009. The Act does not specify when work on additions or improvements must start; it only states the time period during which they must become operational. Further, hydro facility licensees can apply for certification after the fact – that is, after additions or improvements have been placed into service.

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Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

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