HydroLand acquires two North Carolina hydroelectric facilities

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HydroLand has acquired two small run-of-river hydroelectric facilities from Northbrook Carolina Hydro II LLC: 980-kW Bryson Hydroelectric Project and 1.04-MW Franklin Hydroelectric Project.

Since our acquisition of the Enel portfolio, we have been executing our plan to modernize and upgrade acquired hydroelectric facilities while building our portfolio with new acquisitions,” said Cory Lagerstrom, chief executive officer of HydroLand. “These two North Carolina facilities are excellent additions to our hydro-upgrading program. We are excited about what we are building and look forward to sharing more as we grow.”

The two facilities previously were owned by Duke Energy Corp and have undergone major upgrades.

The Bryson facility is located on Lake Ela on the Oconaluftee River in Swain County, N.C. The facility was constructed in 1924. Under Duke’s ownership, investments totaled about $6.5 million in capital since receiving its 30-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license in 2011. Notable major repairs and replacements include new turbine runners, new spillway tainter gates with gate house, new turbine generator controls, upgraded turbine governors, new trashracks, upgraded hydraulic power units (HPU), new breakers and relays, and both GE generators have been rewound since the early 1990s. Bryson is subject to a FERC hydropower license issued in July 2011 for 30 years, expiring on June 30, 2041.

The Franklin facility on the Little Tennessee River at Lake Emory in Macon County, N.C., was constructed in 1925. The expected capacity factor is 50%, generating 4,582 MWh per year. The facility is deemed low hazard by FERC. Since relicensing in 2011, Duke invested about $10 million in capital to replace the six tainter gates, gate hoists, relays, wicket gates, HPUs, generator field poles, headgates, trash racks, powerhouse crane, unit governors, and unit programmable logic controllers. Major maintenance improvements include new electrical wiring, new roll up doors, upgraded emergency generators and compressors, new windows, new metering, and a new log boom.

FERC conducted the last dam safety inspection on July 5, 2016, and did not document any conditions that would adversely affect the safety and performance of the project works. Franklin is subject to a FERC hydropower license issued in September 2011 for 30 years, expiring on August 31, 2041.

HydroLand said that the age (some are 70 years old) and small size of run-of-river hydroelectric plants provide the opportunity to dramatically improve their power generating capacity and efficiency. Through a disciplined engineering and environmentally friendly approach, HydroLand is restoring and improving these facilities to deliver modern, state-of-the-art electric generation for the grid.

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