Industry News

NHA applauds hydropower comments

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) applauds comments from House Water and Power Subcommittee Chairwoman Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Tom McClintock, R-Calif., regarding the nation’s need for hydropower, NHA said in a statement.

“We were pleased to see both Chairwoman Napolitano and Ranking Member McClintock raise several important issues regarding the future of hydropower,” said NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci. “Their comments show a strong understanding of the issues affecting our industry, especially on the federal side, as well as a clear vision for a future where hydropower continues to play its strong role in serving our country.”

In her opening remarks, Chairwoman Napolitano said, “We need hydropower because it is the cleanest, cheapest energy we have.” She described the kind of public policy that could support the hydropower industry as having “effective leadership, strong vision, and the proper amount of funding.”

McClintock echoed these sentiments, saying, “We need to get back to the basics, protecting and developing the original green power: hydropower.”

Church Ciocci said both statements reflected the strong support hydropower has as a way to address the country’s energy, environmental, and economic needs. “I applaud and thank them both for their leadership,” she said. “NHA stands ready to work with them – and all members of Congress – to ensure that all Americans will continue to enjoy the benefits of the country’s largest domestic renewable resource.”

Reclamation awards contracts for Grand Coulee project

Several equipment suppliers are working on rehabilitation of the Third Power Plant at the 6,809-MW Grand Coulee project on the Columbia River in Washington State.

In March 2010, the Bureau of Reclamation awarded ABB Inc. a contract worth about $17 million to replace excitation systems of six generating units undergoing overhaul at the plant. The units, G-19 through G-24, are starting to experience problems stemming from age-related wear on principal components, Reclamation said.

Reclamation said it seeks six new digitally-controlled excitation systems complete with power potential transformers, power circuit breakers, rectifier bridges, and interconnecting medium-voltage alternating current busways. Removal of existing equipment and modifications to current busways also are required.

Also, in February 2010, Reclamation awarded a $258,017 contract to Alstom Hydro for stator repair on Generator G-19.

The work is to include removal of the faulted half-coil for delivery to the government for testing. It also includes cleaning and repair of minor damage to stator core laminations, preparing and testing a spare coil for half-coil splice, performing one half-coil splice and possibly optional additional splices.

MWH Americas Inc., under a $2 million contract awarded by Reclamation in 2009, is planning and managing the proposed overhaul of Units G-19 through G-24 at the Third Power Plant.

Centennial of Roosevelt Dam hydro power celebrated

Arizona’s Roosevelt Dam has provided the Phoenix metropolitan area with power for 100 years.

The 357-foot-high Roosevelt Dam, on the Salt River, was built between 1905 and 1911. Power was first delivered on a permanent basis from the hydroelectric facility in 1909.

The Theodore Roosevelt Dam facility has an annual generating capacity of 36,000 kilowatt-hours.

“That first power delivery, three years before Arizona would achieve statehood, helped set up power as the ‘paying partner’ for the water reclamation project and establish Salt River Project as the first multipurpose reclamation project,” said Shelly Dudley, senior historical analyst for the Salt River Project.

The National Reclamation Act, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, provided federal loans for construction of reclamation projects in the West. Salt River Valley settlers formed the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association in 1903 and pledged their land as collateral to secure a government loan for the storage and delivery system’s construction.

FERC certifies four projects for production tax credits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has certified incremental generation at four projects in Georgia, Maine, Michigan, and South Carolina for renewable energy production tax credits (PTC). In addition to this activity, one operator has applied for PTCs and FERC has dismissed a request for PTCs from another facility.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the Internal Revenue Code to apply a PTC to incremental production gains from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydropower facilities placed in service after August 8, 2005, and before January 1, 2014. FERC has certified incremental generation for more than three dozen hydro projects since August 2005.

North Georgia project certified

Multi-state utility Southern Co. sought PTCs for the 168.4-MW North Georgia project in Georgia and South Carolina for efficiency improvements resulting from upgrading and replacing five turbine-generators that were placed in service in 2008.

In a December 10, 2009, order, FERC certified a historical generation baseline total of 165,517 megawatt-hours (MWh) for the five units, and incremental generation from the improvements of 17,098 MWh, an increase of 10.33 percent in generation.

The six-dam, six-powerhouse North Georgia project is on the Tugalo River in Georgia and the Tallulah River in South Carolina.

Weston in Maine certified

On March 2, 2010, FERC issued an order certifying incremental generation at the 14.75-MW Weston project on the Kennebec River in Somerset County, Maine. NextEra Energy Maine Operating Services LLC applied for PTC certification on behalf of licensee FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC.

The applicant cited efficiency improvements from replacing the Unit 1 turbine runner with a more efficient runner of equal size. The 4.5-MW unit went into service December 23, 2008.

FERC certified an annual historical generation baseline of 85,776,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and incremental generation from the improvement of 2,929,000 kWh, an increase of 3.42 percent in generation.

Maine’s Benton Falls certified

On March 2, 2010, FERC also certified the incremental generation of the 4.468-MW Benton Falls project on the Sebasticook River in Kennebec County, Maine.

Hydro operator Benton Falls Associates requested certification for PTCs due to replacement of a fish screen on its 750-kW Unit 2 that allowed nighttime operation during eel migration.

FERC certified an annual historical generation baseline of 15,757,117 kWh and incremental generation of 300,867 kWh, an increase of 1.91 percent.

New turbine at Hardy certified

FERC certified incremental generation resulting from installation of a replacement turbine at the 33-MW Hardy project on Michigan’s Muskegon River.

Licensee Consumers Energy Co. replaced the original 1930 turbine in Unit 3 and rewound the unit’s generator. The new turbine has a capacity of 11.4 MW, up from 10.8 MW. The project’s total capacity following the upgrade is 33 MW.

FERC’s March 3 order certified an annual historical generation baseline of 91,382,000 kWh and incremental generation from the improvement of 8,162,000 kWh, an increase of 8.93 percent.

PTC sought for Gilman

Hydro operator Ampersand Gilman Hydro LP requested certification of incremental generation at its 4.85-MW Gilman project on the Connecticut River in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Ampersand Gilman applied in February 2010, saying it completed four efficiency improvement projects since it took operational control of the Gilman project in August 2008. It seeks certification of efficiency improvements for 2008 and 2009.

The licensee said the project has an annual historical generation baseline of 21,359,822 kWh for 2008 and incremental generation of 3,541,498 kWh, an increase of 16.58 percent for that year. For 2009, it listed the increased historical generation baseline of 24,901,379 kWh and new incremental generation of 1,369,936 kWh, an additional increase of 5.5 percent for that year.

FERC requires amendment for Waterbury

FERC dismissed an application to certify incremental generation at the 5.52-MW Waterbury project in Vermont until licensee Green Mountain Power Corp. obtains a hydropower license amendment covering the efficiency improvement.

On behalf of the licensee, Kleinschmidt Associates filed for PTC certification of efficiency improvements due to replacement of a turbine runner with a new, more efficient runner. FERC said its review found the improvement increased Waterbury’s hydraulic capacity by 14 percent to 670 cubic feet per second (cfs) from 586 cfs.

FERC said in February 2010 that it could not act on certification until the project license is amended to reflect the turbine replacement. It said Green Mountain could reapply when the license is amended.

Ohio town surrenders license, two groups file for permits

The city of Orrville, Ohio, has surrendered its 20-year-old license for the 49.5-MW Pike Island project, finding it not feasible to build the hydroelectric plant at a navigation dam on the Ohio River.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order February 19, 2010, accepting the city’s license surrender. New applications for the site could be filed beginning March 24, 2010. On that date, the city of Oberlin, Ohio, and FFP Missouri 1 LLC filed applications for preliminary permits for the site.

Orrville reported it was not feasible to continue project development due to, among other things, unexpected and significant increases in equipment costs and declines in power market prices. It also cited uncertainty over project schedule, including the timing of approval of project design and construction plans.

The Pike Island project was planned for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pike Island Lock and Dam on the Ohio River at Wheeling, W.Va.

NHA welcomes new leadership and board members

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) has announced its 2010-2011 member president, officers, and advisory board members.

At its January 2010 meeting, the NHA Board elected the following officers for a term of one year:

– President Andrew Munro, Director of External Affairs, Grant County Public Utility District;

– Vice President David Moller, Director, Hydro Licensing, Pacific Gas & Electric Company;

– Treasurer Jim Thrasher, Energy Production Supervisor, American Electric Power; and

– Secretary Ed Schild, Director, Hydroelectric Resources, Puget Sound Energy.

Munro, who was recently re-elected to the board, was re-elected to the presidency for a second term. Moller, who had been NHA’s treasurer, also remains on the executive committee in his new position as vice president. Thrasher and Schild have worked on NHA committees and projects for many years.

NHA is also welcoming five recently-elected members to the NHA Board of Directors. They are:

– Dan Adamson, Davis Wright Tremain LLP;

– David Moller, Pacific Gas & Electric Company;

– Andrew Munro, Grant County Public Utility District;

– Rich Riazzi, Chelan County Public Utility District; and

– Mark Stover, Hydro Green Energy LLC.

In addition, five members will join the Advisory Board:

– Kirby Gilbert, Montgomery Watson Harza;

– Jessica Matlock, Snohomish County Public Utility District;

– Cherise Oram, Stoel Rives LLP;

– Rennie M. Singletary, Santee Cooper; and

– Eric Van Deuren, Mead & Hunt.

New York Power Authority reaches refurbishment milestone

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) continues its Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) Program at the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, with three-quarters of the work complete.

NYPA has completed work on the 12th of 16 turbine-generators to undergo refurbishment as part of a $281 million initiative for ensuring that the hydro project remains a bulwark for Northern New York’s economy for decades to come, NYPA reported.

“The Life Extension and Modernization Program at the St. Lawrence-FDR project is part of our responsible stewardship of this vital generating facility, whose low-cost electricity is a tremendous asset to the North Country,” Richard M. Kessel, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said. “The recent start of work on another turbine-generator keeps us on track to complete the overall initiative by 2013. I want to congratulate our LEM project team, including the St. Lawrence-FDR work force, for its dedication and professionalism in advancing this effort, which has also been supported by our employees at other facilities.”

GEI Consultants moves services to new location

GEI Consultants Inc., a geotechnical, environmental, water resources, and ecological science and engineering firm, has relocated its Denver-area services to a single facility in the Denver Technology Center.

The move involved more than 60 GEI staff formerly located in Centennial, Littleton, and Boulder, Colorado, GEI reported.

“By combining our professional staff into a single office location, our water resources planners, geotechnical engineers, ecologists and scientists can now work side-by-side to provide the best possible service to our clients,” said Steven Canton, GEI Rocky Mountain area manager and a member of the firm’s board of directors.

The new location encompasses 16,832 square feet at the Denver Technology Center. Benefits of the move include improved facilities for GEI’s geotechnical and planning engineers and ecological consultants and scientists, GEI reported.

GEI’s Denver office provides a full range of ecological and geotechnical services, including water conveyance; dam and earthwork design, construction, maintenance, and inspections; water quality and habitat assessments; and aquatic ecosystem surveys. Additional engineering services include hydropower and fish passage designs; raw water supply master plans; geotechnical investigations; and safety inspections.

Reclamation awards contract at New Melones

The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $322,820 contract under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Suppression Systems Inc. to replace the New Melones hydro plant’s fire suppression systems.

The company, based in Tacoma, Wash., will replace the outdated fire suppression systems in the oil storage room and the oil purifier room at the 300-MW project, located in California, Reclamation reported.

The work includes removing the existing system components; designing, furnishing, and installing new electrical and fire protection systems along with automatic fire detection, fire dampers and associated ductwork; and interfacing and providing power for a new fire suppression release panel.

The hydro project is part of the Central Valley Project and is situated downstream from the New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River.

“The ARRA funds will provide the New Melones hydroelectric plant with needed upgrades to ensure the safety of the staff. Complying with current health and safety standards will ensure Reclamation’s mission for the continued safety of its workforce while providing the power that California depends upon,” said Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.

Hydro Research Foundation receives grant for fellowships

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a three-year, $3 million grant to the Hydro Research Foundation (HRF) for establishing and awarding 25 hydro fellowships to graduate-level students, the National Hydropower Association (NHA) announced.

The grant is part of the Advanced Waterpower series of grants within the DOE. The Hydro Fellowship Program will stimulate new student research and academic interest in research and careers in conventional or pumped-storage hydropower.

Applications and program details can be found at

California DWR appealing citations after Oroville Dam accident

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is appealing citations issued by the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a result of a 2009 accident at the 645-MW Edward Hyatt pumped-storage plant.

Cal-OSHA has fined DWR more than $140,000. DWR spokesman Ted Thomas said DWR feels there are some errors in the investigation’s findings, wire services reported.

In July 2009, a steel panel in a dam tunnel collapsed at the facility, injuring five employees, according to media reports. The workers were performing tests on two valves that regulate the flow of river water from the Feather River to the hydropower plant, wire reports indicate. One man suffered head trauma, a broken arm, and a broken leg, while four other workers had more minor injuries, wire services reported.

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