FERC approves new license for Smith Mountain project
The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Appalachian Power a new 30-year license to operate the Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project in Virginia.
Appalachian Power, a division of American Electric Power, began its re-licensing process in 2002. The new license takes effect April 1, 2010, and involves a range of topics, from the power-generating capabilities of the dams to water quality, shoreline and endangered species protection and other issues.
The Smith Mountain project has a generating capacity of 636 MW and includes a two-dam combination pumped storage and conventional hydroelectric project. The conventional hydro project is called the Leesville development.
GEI to construct Thompson Falls fish ladder
PPL Montana selected engineering firm GEI Consultants to provide ecological engineering services for the construction of a US$ 7 million full-height fish ladder at the 93-MW Thompson Falls hydroelectric project in Thompson Falls, Montana.
The fishway, designed to provide over-dam passage for bull trout, is the first of its kind in the United States, GEI said.
The project was developed with a number of governmental agencies and other entities.
Construction of the Thompson Falls fish passage ladder will allow migratory fish to swim upstream of a dam on the Clark Fork River in Thompson Falls for the first time in nearly 100 years, GEI said.
The project began in July 2009 and is slated for completion in the summer of 2010.
PacifiCorp, Avista seek low-impact certification for Oregon project
The Low Impact Hydropower Institute announced that PacifiCorp Energy has submitted an application for LIHI certification of the North Umpqua Hydroelectric Project in Oregon.
The North Umpqua project is in south-central Oregon on the North Umpqua River and two of its tributaries in Douglas County. The project includes eight hydroelectric developments, with a combined capacity of 185 MW.
The voluntary LIHI program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low-impact hydropower facilities. Certification under the program means the owner can market the project as a certified low-impact facility.
In addition, LIHI said Avista Corp. submitted an application for LIHI certification of the Clark Fork Hydroelectric Project.
The Clark Fork project consists of the Cabinet Gorge development and the Noxon Rapids development. The projects are on the Clark Fork River in Idaho and Montana, respectively. The Cabinet Gorge project has a capacity of 265 MW, while the Noxon Rapids project has a capacity of 456 MW.
National Hydropower Association Annual Conference set for April
Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the army for civil works, will be the keynote speaker at the National Hydropower Association’s annual conference April 26-28 in Washington, D.C.
The conference, “Hydro in the New Energy Revolution: Innovate. Generate. Legislate.,” will bring together industry leaders, regulators, and key legislative staff to discuss technology, policy, and future development options for the hydropower sector.
A wide range of activities, meetings and sessions are planned for the event. Subjects range from legislative and regulatory issues to new technologies, small hydro, pumped-storage hydro, and hydropower’s role in job creation.
Register online at www.hydro.org, or fax toll free at (888) 299-8057, or direct at (918) 831-9161.
NYPA displays original turbine runner at visitors center
A 90-ton turbine runner replaced during an upgrade of the Blenheim-Gilboa pumped-storage hydroelectric project has found a new home outside the New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center.
The original runner was transported to the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center and was lifted by crane onto a concrete base on the center grounds. A new, custom-designed, 90-ton, 20-foot-wide runner arrived at the Blenheim-Gilboa project as a replacement.
Replacement of the plant’s four turbine runners with a new, higher-efficiency design is a major part of the Blenheim-Gilboa hydro project’s four-year Life Extension and Modernization Program and the most significant factor in increasing the maximum capacity of each of the plant’s four turbine generators from 260 MW to approximately 290 MW.
At the conclusion of the program, scheduled for June 2010, it is projected that the Blenheim-Gilboa project, rated originally at 1,040 MW, will have a capacity of about 1,160 MW, the NYPA said.
The life extension program marks the first time the pumped-storage project has been upgraded with new turbines since it went into service in 1973. The US$135 million upgrade will allow the Blenheim-Gilboa project to produce more power from the same amount of water.
Certification of incremental generation considered
Hydro operator PPL Montana requested certification of incremental generation at its Cochrane hydroelectric development, part of the 327.85-MW Missouri-Madison project on the Missouri River system in Montana.
In a Nov. 25, 2009, filing, PPL Montana said it is seeking certification for production tax credits due to the rewind of the Cochrane Unit 1 generator, allowing greater maximum output during periods of plentiful river flows. The Unit 1 rewind went into service in January 2008.
Also, FERC certified incremental generation at the 168.4-MW North Georgia hydroelectric project in Georgia and South Carolina for renewable energy production tax credits.
Multi-state utility Southern Co. sought the federal production tax credit for efficiency improvements from upgrading and replacing five turbine-generators that were placed in service in 2008.
U.S. awards contract for penstock recoating at Flatiron hydro project
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded Minnesota-based Abhe & Svoboda Inc. a US$12.2 million contract to replace the protective coating on two penstocks at its 94.5-MW Flatiron hydroelectric project in Colorado.
Reclamation announced in May 2009 that it would use funds from an economic stimulus bill passed earlier that year to finance the work.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $1 billion to Reclamation to invest in U.S. water infrastructure projects. Those projects include Flatiron, part of the Colorado-Big Thompson project.
The Flatiron penstocks, in service since 1954, drop water 1,064 feet through a mile of pipeline to the hydro plant, northwest of Denver.
The coating on the inside and outside of the penstocks will be replaced, and all lead-based paint will be removed and disposed of. Ultrasonic flow meters will be installed on the penstocks to improve accounting for water and power plant efficiency.
Abhe & Svoboda is a full-service restoration contractor. In addition to offering industrial coatings services, the firm also offers a variety of related construction services, such as concrete repair and steel repair and replacement.
Oregon dam to receive new hydro facility
Symbiotics LLC, a developer of hydroelectric projects, received a federal license to add a 10-MW generating facility to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam on the Applegate River in Oregon.
Symbiotics builds new hydro projects and retrofits existing dams that do not have hydroelectric facilities.
Construction is expected to begin in 2011 on the estimated US$19 million project. The project at Applegate Dam, near the city of Medford in southern Oregon, could begin generating electricity within four years.
As part of the Applegate Dam project development, Symbiotics plans to reintroduce winter steelhead fish upstream of Applegate Lake.
CVEC buys 400-kW hydro plant from Blue Sky Power
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) agreed to buy a small hydroelectric plant on Virginia’s Rockfish River from Blue Sky Power.
The 400-kW Harris Bridge plant is in the heart of CVEC’s service territory and is capable of generating power for many decades, said Gary Wood, president and chief executive officer. The 88-year-old plant was refurbished by Blue Sky.
“The plant was a natural fit for our cooperative,” Wood said. “We expect it to serve our members for years to come.”
Harris Bridge is one of the first power plants in a largely rural county and was constructed to serve the needs of a nearby soapstone factory and the residents of Schuyler, Va. In 2009, the hydro plant was deemed a low impact to the environment, winning certification from the Low-Impact Hydropower Institute.
The plant was refurbished in 2005, as Blue Sky revamped old generating equipment and installed new hydraulic control equipment. Since it was founded in 2005, Blue Sky has led and participated in more than a dozen hydropower and solar power projects with generation capacities of 0.5 to 10 MW.
Power authority extends low-cost hydropower contract
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will continue to receive low-cost hydropower for its light rail system in Buffalo, N.Y., and for the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
The military facility benefits from NYPA power through the transportation authority, which owns the airport where the facility is located.
The NYPA Trustees approved extension of the two allocations of hydroelectric power to Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority through 2014 and for successive five-year terms that follow. The authority receives 1,000 kW for the rail system and 2,300 kW for the Air Force Base.
Reclamation awards contract for dam improvements
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it awarded Portland, Ore.’s, Triad Mechanical Inc. an $806,496 contract for improvements to the Roza Diversion Dam in Washington state.
The contract was awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The improvements will include replacing the bottom and side seals of the existing west roller gate and to attach 23 manually-operated weirs to the top of the west roller gate. The weirs will be used to provide continuous flow for steelhead. The fish are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
AECOM wins $10 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract
AECOM Technology Corp. received a five-year, $10 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland, Ore., district.
AECOM will perform technical studies and design analysis for spillways, outlet works, power facilities, canals, navigation locks, navigation channels, and harbor and coastal projects.
The company also will perform site assessments and investigation of water and sediment quality.
AECOM’s services will support improvements in fish passage and water quality in Washington and Oregon’s Willamette and Columbia River basins.
Rizzo Associates moves headquarters to Pittsburgh
Global engineering and consulting firm Paul C. Rizzo Associates Inc. has moved its corporate headquarters to Pittsburgh, Pa.
Rizzo Associates, previously headquartered in Monroeville, Pa., occupies 42,000 square feet on four floors within Building Five of Penn Center East, doubling their previous space, the company reported.
The firm specializes in dams, hydroelectric projects, large-scale environmental assessments, tunneling and mining projects as well as nuclear facilities.
Rizzo Associates employs about 300 engineers worldwide, of which approximately 130 work out of the new Pittsburgh headquarters. The firm has 13 offices worldwide.