Small Hydro Projects Aim for State RPS

Portions of the green energy requirements to satisfy New York State’s push for renewable energy could come partially from a group of low-impact, small hydro projects recently certified as such. Brascan Power New York and the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) jointly announced that 16 of Brascan Power’s hydropower facilities on the Hoosic and Raquette Rivers in upstate New York have earned Low Impact Hydropower Facility certification.

In 2003, Brascan Power received LIHI certification for eight hydropower facilities on the Beaver River. Combined, 24 out of 71 hydropower facilities Brascan Power owns and operates in New York State have LIHI certification. Generating capacity of the LIHI-certified plants totals nearly 224 MW. In addition, Brascan Power now has low impact-certified hydropower plants in all three of the regions where it operates in New York State. The timing couldn’t be better either. New York State recently established a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires a certain percent of utility power to be derived from renewable energy resources, including some low-impact, small hydropower projects just like these. The state has yet to officially rule on whether the Brascan small hydro projects will indeed be included as part of the RPS. “We retain the distinction of being the only hydropower producer in New York State to receive this prestigious certification, and are well-positioned to help the state achieve the goal of 25 percent renewable energy supply within 10 years,” said David Youlen, who is the Brascan vice president of New York operations. To receive the certification, Brascan Power had to demonstrate that the Hoosic and Raquette River projects 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. Brascan Power 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. The 16 plants to most recently receive LIHI certification include the Hoosic River Project in Rensselaer County that consists of two plants, Schaghticoke (16.4 megawatts) and Johnsonville (2 megawatts); and the Raquette River project which consists of these 14 facilities: Carry Falls (storage reservoir), Stark (26 megawatts), Blake (15 megawatts), Rainbow (25 megawatts), Five Falls (24 megawatts), South Colton (21 megawatts), Higley (6 megawatts), Colton (30 megawatts), Hannawa (7 megawatts), Sugar Island (4 megawatts), Norwood (2 megawatts), East Norfolk (4 megawatts), Norfolk (5 megawatts), and Raymondville (2 megawatts).
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