Hydro Currents


FERC approves formula for BPA wind curtailment in favor of excess hydro

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a cost allocation method by which Bonneville Power Administration may fund the costs of reimbursing wind projects whose generation is curtailed to make room for free excess federal hydropower resulting from high river flows in the Columbia River Basin.

The rulings, issued Oct. 16, say that under its http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2013/january/ferc-upholds-order-restricting-bpa-wind-curtailment-in-favor-of-excess-hydro.html Oversupply Management Protocol, BPA would work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation to manage federal hydro generation and spill water up to dissolved gas limits. BPA then would offer low-cost or free hydropower to replace the output of thermal and other plants, with the expectation many would voluntarily reduce generation to save fuel costs.

If hydro supply still exceeds demand, BPA would reduce the output of remaining generation in its system in order of least cost. It said it would compensate the affected generation for lost revenue, including renewable energy credits and production tax credits.

In the Oct. 16 orders (EL11-44 and EF14-5), FERC accepted BPA’s proposal to allocate the costs of invoking the OMP to transmission rates of all generators scheduled to use transmission at the time of the hydropower oversupply event.

BPA argued that oversupply costs are transmission costs, rather than power costs. FERC agreed. “Under the OMP, Bonneville incurs costs in order to curtail wind generators during oversupply conditions — a situation that did not exist prior to the interconnection of significant amounts of wind generation on Bonneville’s transmission system,” FERC said. “Because this interconnection of wind resources to Bonneville’s transmission grid is directly related to Bonneville incurring oversupply costs, we find that Bonneville’s oversupply costs are properly categorized as transmission costs.”

Suit filed to halt work on Canada’s 1,100-MW Site C

Four First Nations groups have filed a lawsuit against the controversial 1,100-MW Site C project, proposed for construction on the Peace River in British Columbia, Canada. Included are the Doig River, McLeod Lake, Prophet River and West Moberly bands, represented as the Treaty 8 Tribal Association in a motion filed with Canada’s federal court in mid-November.

The group claimed approvals for the US billion project did not adequately consider the impacts on First Nations groups, thus violating constitutional rights granted by a century-old agreement called Treaty 8. Construction of Site C would destroy an area important for natural resource and cultural resources, according to the tribal association’s website.

For a complete update on this project, see Canadian Spotlight on page 50.

Ameren Missouri plan includes 28 MW of hydro

Ameren Missouri’s 20-year integrated resource plan proposes adding 28 MW of hydropower from 8 MW of unit upgrades and possibly 20 MW of new generation at unpowered dams. The IRP, filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission, examines electric customers’ long-term energy needs and describes the St. Louis-based utility’s proposals to meet demand in a cost-effective fashion that increases use of renewable energy and reduces use of coal.

Ajay Arora, Ameren assistant vice president of environmental services and innovation planning, said the proposed hydro increases are being evaluated and that the 20-year plan is updated every three years. “We want to understand the potential of hydropower,” Arora said. “We will take a harder look at it and definitely keep it in the mix.”

Arora said the possibility of upgrades at the 142-MW Keokuk and 242.59-MW Osage projects needed further evaluations for effectiveness. The IRP said the Keokuk project is scheduled to complete upgrades of Units 5 and 6 in 2016, increasing installed capacity by 2 MW each with a total capital cost of $23.5 million. Upgrades of Units 14 and 15 are to add another 2 MW each in 2018 at a cost of $25 million.

The plan said Ameren Missouri hired HDR Engineering to evaluate expansion options at Keokuk. Fourteen options were evaluated and narrowed to seven ranging from 4.5 MW to 162 MW. One option slated for further evaluation would use five spare bays at Keokuk to add 10-MW Kaplan units totaling 50 MW. Arora said proposals to add hydro to non-powered dams are further out, probably in the last five years of the 20-year IRP window.

FERC orders renew plans for pumped storage

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ruled in two pumped-storage project cases. Both cases involve projects under study for years under previous preliminary permits.

240- to 500-MW San Vicente Pumped-Storage

FERC ruled Oct. 16 that, after a “cooling off period,” San Diego County Water Authority could compete for a new preliminary permit for the 240- to 500-MW San Vicente Pumped-Storage project, proposed for San Vicente Dam in California.

FERC http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2013/07/nuclear-plant-closure-brings-san-vicente-pumped-storage-project-to-spotlight.html previously denied an application by SDCWA to renew its preliminary permit a third time, saying the applicant must show extraordinary circumstances prevented it from proceeding to file a license. SDCWA argued extraordinary circumstances: The city of San Diego, which owns the dam, is planning a potable water reuse project for the reservoir, and SDCWA was http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/07/raising-of-california-s-san-vicente-dam-complete.html raising the height of San Vicente Dam 117 feet, adding 152,000 acre-feet of water storage capacity. FERC was unconvinced, saying it is not extraordinary for the authority to deal with multiple projects simultaneously.

On rehearing, SDCWA said public notice of its permit renewal application had been filed nine months earlier and no competing applications have been filed. “We … agree that a sufficient amount of time has passed for any other entities interested in pursuing a project at the site to have had an opportunity to file preliminary permit or license applications for the San Vicente project site,” FERC said. “We will allow the water authority to reapply for a new preliminary permit for the San Vicente project site.”

1,500-MW New Summit Pumped-Storage

FERC also issued a preliminary permit to New Summit Hydro LLC to study developing the 1,500-MW New Summit project, using as its lower reservoir a former limestone mine.

In issuing the order, FERC rejected a challenge by the city of Norton and Summit Metro Parks that contended New Summit Hydro was the same applicant as South Run Pumped Storage LLC, a unit of Free Flow Power and previous permit holder for the site, then called http://www.hydroworld.com/ferc/13750-13999/13876-south-run.html South Run Pumped-Storage. Norton and Summit Metro said the application should be considered a successive permit application by an applicant that failed to pursue its original permit with good faith and due diligence.

FERC said there was no evidence to support the contention that Kevin Young controlled both applicants, as Young is agent and managing member of New Summit but was merely agent for South Run. The commission said there was no evidence that South Run or Free Flow Power had a “cloak of control” over the new applicant.

Rhode Island renewables legislation advances development, use of hydro

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed renewable energy legislation that includes provisions to advance regional development and use of hydropower.

Chafee signed: the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act. allowing the state to pursue cost-effective energy infrastructure projects; the Renewable Energy Growth Program, expanding the state’s Distributed Generation Contracts Program to 200 MW of capacity for in-state renewable energy systems; and the Renewable Energy Professional Certificate law, updating electrical and plumber licensing laws to clarify their work on renewable energy projects.

The Affordable Clean Energy Security Act authorizes the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and other state agencies to participate in solicitations for development of regional electric transmission projects in New England that would allow transmission of large or small, domestic or http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/09/u-s-energy-department-approves-transmission-line-to-deliver-quebec-hydropower-to-new-york.html international hydropower that will benefit Rhode Island ratepayers.

ACES also would authorize public electric distribution utilities to participate in regional efforts to procure hydroelectric power, provided that large-scale hydro would not be eligible for benefits under the state’s renewable energy standards law. With regulatory approval, the utilities also may solicit competitive proposals for long-term contracts with renewable developers, including proposals for large or small, domestic or international hydropower.

The Renewable Energy Growth Program is designed to finance for five years the development, construction and operation of renewable-energy distributed generation projects of no more than 5 MW within a distribution utility’s load zone. The legislation would exempt hydro projects from the requirement that eligible renewable projects be new and not under construction. Such hydro projects would be eligible if they require a material investment to restore or maintain reliable and efficient operation and meet all regulatory, environmental or operational requirements.

Jacobs Associates, McMillen LLC announce merger

San Francisco-based Jacobs Associates and Boise, Idaho-based McMillen LLC announced plans to merge, forming McMillen Jacobs Associates.

“Unifying our businesses and beliefs will allow us to better serve our clients and provide expanded opportunities for our employees, particularly in the design-build arena,” Jacobs Associates President Dan Adams said Oct. 24.

The merged company is to have a staff of 380 working from 19 offices in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Jacobs Associates has focused primarily on detailed design and construction engineering in the heavy civil underground market since it opened in 1954. Founded in 2004, McMillen is an environmental, engineering, and heavy civil construction firm serving the hydroelectric infrastructure and water resources industries.

The companies said the merger would help Jacobs grow construction management, redefine how design-build is delivered, and diversify the company beyond tunnels. They said the merger would expand McMillen’s geographic reach and strengthen its engineering capabilities in rock mechanics, grouting and underground structures.

GRDA celebrates 50 years at Robert S. Kerr Dam

“Grand indeed,” is what many attendees said while in attendance at the Grand River Dam Authority’s 130-MW Robert S. Kerr Dam at Lake Hudson north of Locust Grove, Okla. The facility marked its 50th Anniversary celebration on Oct. 25.

Kerr Dam, which opened in 1964 and took two years to build, is a concrete gravity and earth-filled embankment with a concrete ogee weir spillway. The powerhouse put four 28.5-MW generators into operation along with 17 floodgates — each 40 feet by 17 feet — that give the facility a total discharge potential of 599,000 cubic feet per second. GRDA rebuilt all of the http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2006/11/grda-plans-major-upgrade-of-108-mw-markham-ferry.html Kerr Dam turbines in the past four years.

“Kerr Dam is part of the GRDA network of power generating facilities that in total has transmission lines in 75 of the 77 counties in Oklahoma,” said GRDA Chairman Thomas Kimball http://www.hydroworld.com/topics/v/98542994/video3861331804001 during a video interview with PennWell’s Hydro Group. (To view this video, visit HydroWorld.com and click on Video Gallery under the Home tab.)

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