Industry News

PPL plans 2009 construction start for Holtwood Expansion

PPL Corp. announced it hopes to begin construction in 2009 on the 125-MW Holtwood Expansion, an addition to the 107.2-MW Holtwood hydroelectric project on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Kathleen McGinty called PPL’s application to advance the expansion project a milestone in clean energy production.

“We’ve worked closely with PPL to craft this proposal in a way that helps meet our energy needs, while also addressing the environmental and ecological considerations associated with this kind of expansion project,” McGinty said at a news conference. “Clean energy is an imperative for our environment, our economy, and our security.”

If PPL begins building as planned in 2009, the $300 million expansion would begin generating electricity in 2012. Construction would involve building a new two-unit powerhouse on the site of a former coal-fired power plant adjacent to the ten-unit Holtwood powerhouse. Construction is contingent upon federal, state, and local approvals.

PPL Holtwood LLC, a unit of Pennsylvania-based utility PPL Corp. that owns and operates the project, is planning the expansion. The company said it is committed to improving fish passage, particularly for American Shad, and mitigating environmental issues.

The average annual historical generation of the Holtwood project is 594,849 megawatt-hours (MWh). The expansion would add 360,834 MWh in incremental generation.

DEP said it would work with PPL to establish minimum streamflows through Holtwood Dam to ensure water quality standards are met, to enhance recreational opportunities on the Susquehanna River, and to clarify operational issues during droughts.

PPL seeks16-year extension of original Holtwood license

PPL Holtwood LLC filed a license amendment application for the Holtwood project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in December 2007. In addition to seeking approval for the capacity increase, PPL Holtwood asked FERC to extend the term of the original license 16 years. The existing license to operate Holtwood expires Sept. 1, 2014.

“In recognition of the amounts of money it expects to invest in this redevelopment, PPL respectfully requests that the license term be extended by an additional 16 years, through Aug. 31, 2030, which would result in a 50-year license term for the existing license, the maximum permitted under the statute,” PPL Holtwood Counsel David Poe said.

PPL donates 3,500 acres to land conservancy

In other news, PPL Corp. is donating 3,500 acres of company land surrounding the Holtwood hydroelectric project to the Lancaster County Conservancy. The conservancy is to preserve the land as open space and enhance its benefits to the public.

Chicago Climate Exchange approves hydropower sale

The Chicago Climate Exchange approved a portion of the electricity generated at Washington’s 1,236.6-MW Rocky Reach hydropower project to be traded to offset greenhouse gas emissions from other sources.

The amount approved – about 1.75 million megawatt-hours (MWh) –comes from operational and equipment efficiency improvements made since 2003. These megawatt-hours are eligible to be traded as carbon offset credits.

Project operator Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) estimates the credits could be worth between $1.5 million and $3 million, based on recent prices.

PUD commissioners approved a measure in December 2007 for the district to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) as a member and to register the offsets with CCX.

The exchange is the world’s first, and North America’s only, legally binding rules-based greenhouse gas reduction and trading system, the district said. Exchange members commit to reduce their direct carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent by 2010 by making internal reductions or by purchasing excess reductions made by other members or offset projects.

“This is unique,” PUD General Manager Rich Riazzi said. “It affirms hydropower as emissions-free and renewable and supports the country’s economic, energy-independence, and clean-air goals. We hope this makes it easier for other clean hydropower producers to participate as well.”

Emissions displacements from incremental MWh generated since 2003 now are available for purchase as “offsets” by other CCX members. Chelan County PUD is to decide whether to market its offsets, which qualify to replace the equivalent of about 700,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Chelan County PUD said it will use any net funds it receives through the exchange market to support and enhance the district’s environmental, conservation, and system efficiency improvement programs.

FERC awards $18 million for engineering support

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) awarded an $18 million contract to the Louis Berger Group to provide hydroelectric environmental and engineering support services for a planned five-year program in the Office of Energy Projects.

FERC selected Louis Berger from companies responding to a solicitation for the services. The hydropower regulator said the contract is worth approximately $18 million.

FERC anticipates most work performed under the contract will require preparation of environmental impact statements, although some work will require environmental assessments. FERC said a small component of work could require the contractor to conduct pre-license application activities.

FERC updates Form 80 for submitting recreation data

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announces a revision of its Form 80, the Licensed Hydropower Development Recreation Report.

All hydro project licensees are required to complete and submit this form by April 2009, providing information on recreational use and facilities at their projects during 2008.

The new form is available on the Internet at Click on the e-library link and enter document number IC07-80-001 to find the document.

FERC requires submission of the recreation report every six years. FERC staff uses information from the reports to evaluate recreation at hydro projects to ensure recreational facilities are meeting the public’s needs.

FERC says the revisions to Form 80 will make completion simpler. For example, licensees no longer have to include data concerning the city and population nearest to each recreation facility, as the commission can find that information from other sources. FERC also clarified definitions so respondents have a better understanding of the information to be provided.

Although some licensees recommended FERC lengthen the reporting cycle to as much as 12 years, FERC said it believes six years is an appropriate period to monitor use.

The Federal Power Act stipulates the commission is responsible for ensuring hydro projects under its jurisdiction are consistent with comprehensive development of U.S. waterways for recreation and other beneficial public uses.

Corps awards contract for Fort Peck generator work

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $4 million contract to Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation to rewind a generator at the 185.3-MW Fort Peck powerhouse on the Missouri River near Glasgow, Mont.

The contract calls for Voith Siemens to design, manufacture, install, test, and commission a rehabilitated rotor, stator coils, and core laminations for Generator 2, one of Fort Peck’s five generators.

The unit is an air-cooled, vertical generator manufactured by Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co. The unit was put into service in 1948 and rewound in 1978.

In a solicitation for proposals, the Corps estimated the cost of the work would range from $1 million to $2.5 million. The actual amount of the award totaled $3,999,780. The work is to be completed by the end of November 2008.

FERC certifies projects for production tax credits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certified incremental hydropower generation at five projects in California, Idaho, Montana, and North Carolina for federal renewables production tax credit incentives.

California: Phoenix

FERC granted a request by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., licensee for 1.8-MW Phoenix, on the Stanislaus River in California, for certification of efficiency improvements from a turbine upgrade completed in 2005.

FERC certified incremental generation of 380,516 kilowatt-hours (kWh), a 3.51 percent increase in generation from improvements.

Idaho: Birch Creek

FERC certified incremental generation at the 2.7-MW Birch Creek project in Idaho. Licensee Birch Power Co. cited efficiency improvements achieved by replacing a Gilkes Turgo impulse turbine and Ideal generator with a Pelton wheel manufactured by China Huadian Engineering Co. Ltd. and a new generator. Installation of the new equipment was completed in 2007.

FERC certified incremental generation of 2,411,786 kWh. The improvements resulted in a 15.65 percent increase in the historical generation baseline. All power from the facility, in Clark County, is sold to PacifiCorp.

Montana: Kerr

FERC certified incremental generation at the 188.25-MW Kerr project, licensed to PPL Montana LLC.

FERC certified efficiency improvements from additional capacity that began service in March 2007. The project is on the Flathead River in Montana.

FERC certified incremental generation of 35,519,000 kWh, a 3.31 percent increase in generation due to project improvements. The total amount of generation with improvements is 1,107,239,000 kWh.

North Carolina: Avalon, Mayo

FERC certified incremental generation at two small projects on the Mayo River in North Carolina owned by Mayo Hydropower LLC – 1.275-MW Avalon Dam and 952-kW Mayo.

Project improvements increased total generation by 23.87 percent at Avalon Dam, and by 6.4 percent at Mayo.

Mayo Hydropower added 1,077,353 kWh at Avalon Dam by installing a minimum flow turbine-generator and efficiency improvements in flow control system, optimal automatic flow sharing with two turbines, and improved trashracks and trashrack controls.

It added 180,938 kWh at the Mayo project by making efficiency improvements to flow control systems, optimal automatic flow sharing with two turbines, and improved trashracks and trashrack controls.

Utah’s 12-MW Jordanelle wins low-impact certification

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) certified Central Utah Water Conservancy District’s 12-MW Jordanelle Dam project on the Provo River as “low-impact” hydropower.

The project, under construction at a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation dam near Heber City, Utah, is scheduled to enter operation in June. The project is being built under a lease of power privilege from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Central Utah plans to sell project power to Heber Light & Power, a municipal utility.

Portland-based LIHI certified Jordanelle Dam in December 2007. LIHI said its voluntary program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low-impact facilities for emerging “green” energy markets.

To receive LIHI certification, an applicant must demonstrate its project meets criteria addressing river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether the dam is recommended for removal.

Briefly …

Consolidated Edison Development agreed to sell power plants totaling 1,706 MW to North American Energy Alliance LLC, including five small hydroelectric plants totaling more than 17 MW in Massachusetts: 1.464-MW Dwight, 3.58-MW Gardners Falls, 3.7-MW Indian Orchard, 3.9-MW Putts Bridge, and 4.5-MW Red Bridge. … California’s Planning and Conservation League (PCL) named hydropower project operator Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Environmental Business of the Year at PCL’s annual Environmental Legislative Symposium.

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