Industry News

Eagle Creek acquires 26 facilities from North American Hydro

Eagle Creek Renewable Energy has purchased the majority of the companies and hydroelectric facilities owned by North American Hydro Holdings.

New Jersey-based Eagle Creek now has ownership or leasehold interests in 26 facilities with a total capacity of about 40 MW. The company says the remaining North American Hydro properties will be retained by William D. Harris, one of that company’s current owners. Before this transaction, Eagle Creek owned and operated three hydroelectric facilities on New York’s Mongaup River, which the company acquired in early 2011. Those plants have a combined output of about 20 MW.

“This deal provides a significant growth platform for Eagle Creek,” says Bud Cherry, Eagle Creek chief executive officer. “The structure also supports continued excellence in operations, maintenance, dam safety and regulatory compliance provided by the outstanding management and operations teams at the facilities.”

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Lake Elsinore pumped-storage project suffers another setback

Judge Angela Minkin recently decided to dismiss Nevada Hydro Co.’s application to build a transmission line for the 600-MW Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage project.

This decision, made April 5, would become final only after a vote by the five-member California Public Utilities Commission. The developer has 30 days from the date of the ruling to file comments with the commission.

Nevada Hydro has spent more than 14 years and $26 million to build the project, which would be located on San Juan Creek in Riverside County, Calif., using the existing Lake Elsinore as its lower reservoir. A 240-foot-tall dam and upper reservoir would be built in Decker Canyon, along with a powerhouse. The plan also includes 32 miles of 500-kV transmission line connecting to an existing Southern California Edison transmission line to the north and an existing San Diego Gas & Electric transmission line to the south.

The project, originally estimated to cost $353 million in 2007 dollars, is now expected to cost $684 million.

Minkin’s ruling called the company’s financing and project description “vague and speculative.”

The project experienced a setback in July 2011 when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected Nevada Hydro’s permit request for the project. The then-500-MW project was rejected due to long-standing disagreements between Nevada Hydro and its co-applicant, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, owner of Lake Elsinore.

FERC accepted a new preliminary permit application for the project in December 2011.

FERC certifies tax credits for hydro across U.S.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has certified incremental generation at hydroelectric projects in several states for renewable energy production tax credits.

Alcoa wins certification for upgrades of 140-MW Cheoah

FERC approved requests by Alcoa Power Generating Inc. to certify incremental generation from upgrades of three turbine-generators of the 140-MW Cheoah development of its 380-MW Tapoco project on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah rivers in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Alcoa cited incremental generation from replacement of turbine runners, generators, wicket gates, and related equipment of Units 1 and 2 of the Cheoah development. In a separate filing, it cited incremental generation from a similar upgrade to Unit 4, to be complete in October 2012. FERC found the Cheoah development had an annual historical generation baseline of 511,700 MWh and total incremental generation of 26,200 MWh, a 5.12% increase, as a result of upgrading all three units, to a new total annual generation of 537,900 MWh.

NextEra wins certification of two FPL projects in Maine

FERC approved requests by NextEra Energy Maine Operating Services LLC for certification of incremental generation at two projects in Maine, 14.75-MW Weston and 7.2-MW Bonny Eagle, licensed to NextEra subsidiary FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC. FERC certified additional incremental generation at Weston on the Kennebec River in Somerset County, Maine. FPL Energy Maine replaced the Unit 3 turbine runner with a more efficient runner and rewound its generator. FERC found the project had an annual historical generation baseline of 88,705 MWh and incremental generation of 2,228 MWh, a 2.51% increase, for new total annual generation of 90,933 MWh.

FERC also certified incremental generation at Bonny Eagle on the Saco River in Maine. FPL Energy Maine improved efficiency by replacement of 339 feet of wooden flashboards with an inflatable flashboard system that improved head pond control, and by installing an automated full-depth trash rake.

FERC found Bonny Eagle had an annual historical generation baseline of 49,269 MWh and total incremental generation of 2,227 MWh, a 4.52% increase, as a result of both flashboard and trash rake work, for new total generation of 51,496 MWh.

NextEra Energy Maine Operating Services has filed additional requests for certification on behalf of FPL Energy Maine Hydro for replacement of flashboards with inflatable flashboard systems at two projects in Maine.

NextEra said the 7.812-MW West Buxton project on the Saco River has annual historical baseline generation of 32,514 MWh and new annual generation of 32,977 MWh, an increase of 464 MWh or 1.42%.

It said the Deer Rips and Androscoggin 3 developments of the 37.2-MW Gulf Island-Deer Rips project on the Androscoggin River have annual historical baseline generation of 61,867 MWh and new annual generation of 64,686 MWh, an increase of 2,819 MWh or 4.56%.

Duke wins tax credits for new 31.5-MW Bridgewater

The commission approved a request by Duke Energy Carolinas LLC for certification of incremental generation at the Bridgewater development of its 732.6-MW Catawba-Wateree project in South Carolina and North Carolina.

FERC issued an order in 2011 amending the project’s license to allow Duke to replace the 20-MW Bridgewater development with a new 31.5-MW powerhouse.

The work is being performed to meet FERC dam stability guidelines for Linville Dam.

The new Bridgewater powerhouse replaces two main generating units and adds a new minimum flow unit. Generation is to increase due to the addition of the minimum flow unit and due to efficiency improvements and a small hydraulic capacity increase from the replacement units.

FERC found the Bridgewater development has an annual historical generation baseline of 56,359 MWh and incremental generation of 6,781 MWh, a 12% increase, for new total annual generation of 63,140 MWh.

FERC certifies unit upgrade at 721-MW Clark Fork

FERC approved a request by Avista Utilities for additional certification of incremental generation at the 721-MW Clark Fork project on the Clark Fork River in Idaho and Montana.

Certification is for efficiency improvements from installation of a new turbine runner on Unit 2 of the project’s 456-MW Noxon Rapids development in Montana. In 2011, FERC certified or recertified the incremental generation resulting from three separate upgrades at Clark Fork.

FERC found Clark Fork has an annual historical generation baseline of 2,750,464 MWh and incremental generation of 9,549 MWh, a 0.35% increase, for new total generation of 2,760,013 MWh.

White House honors Voith Hydro CEO for innovation in renewables

Kevin Frank, chief executive officer and president of Voith Hydro, has been recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for innovation in renewable energy.

Frank, one of nine selected from more than 200 nominations, was chosen for his efforts within the hydroelectric industry that help advance innovation, education, sustainable energy and community activism, the company says.

The CEO says hydroelectricity could provide an additional 60,000 MW of electricity to the national grid while creating 1.4 million jobs.

Encorp restores, upgrades historic Michigan plant

Work at a 119-year-old hydropower plant will allow the facility to continue functioning as originally designed, says energy control company Encorp LLC.

The 27-MW Marshall plant, on the Kalamazoo River, is operated by the Michigan South Central Power Agency and still uses much of the same equipment that was installed during a 1920 upgrade. The projects Encorp completed at the Marshall plant will allow it to continue functioning as originally designed, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based company says.

Encorp’s work at the plant includes a $300,000, 500-kW microgrid, restoration of the facility’s energy protection and control equipment, and a new water pressure monitoring system.

Enduring Energy director Mark Garner gets Henwood Award

Mark Garner, director of hydropower for Enduring Energy, has been given the Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award by the National Hydropower Association in recognition of his lifetime of achievement in the hydroelectric sector.

Garner, a 24-year veteran of the hydropower industry, was selected by a committee of his peers and presented with the award at NHA’s Annual Conference in April 2012 in Wash- ington, D.C.

Garner served as president and chief executive officer of Voith Hydro from 2003 until his retirement in 2010. He currently serves on NHA’s Board of Directors and was a founder and chair of the association’s CEO Council. He recently joined Enduring Energy, a renewable energy consulting firm that places a strong emphasis on developing hydropower.

“Before joining the hydro industry, a respected colleague of mine advised me – and I quote – ‘Hydro is the dinosaur of the power industry,'” Garner recalls. “Fortunately, I did not listen to him, and I’m happy to report that he was wrong.”

NHA established the Dr. Kenneth Henwood Award in 1990 to honor Henwood, who died while working on a project in California.

The association says it has since become its most prestigious individual achievement, and its recipients must demonstrate the qualities of its namesake.

FERC OKs capacity increase to 1,119 MW at Northfield Mountain

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an application in March from FirstLight Hydro Generating Co. to amend the license of the 1,080-MW Northfield Mountain Pumped-Storage project, increasing project capacity to 1,119.2 MW.

In March, FERC also certified incremental generation at Northfield Mountain, on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, due to replacement of turbine runners with higher efficiency runners in Units 2 and 3.

The license amendment reflects increased capacity resulting from improvements to pump-turbine Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 or testing that showed the units could produce additional power if operated at higher temperatures.

HydroVision International 2012 will feature Attendees’ Choice awards

HydroVision International 2012 is approaching, and PennWell is announcing the addition of “Attendees’ Choice” awards that will be presented during the closing luncheon on Friday, July 20.

Throughout the conference, attendees who are registered as conference delegates will have opportunities to vote on HydroVision’s best panel discussions. The three discussions that receive the most votes each day will be honored.

Winners of the best technical paper in five categories will also be recognized, as will the 2012 Hydro Hall of Fame inductees. Tickets to the HydroVision closing luncheon are included with all full conference registrations, although they can also be purchased for $35.

HydroVision International 2012 takes place July 17-20 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

NHA recognizes three projects for exemplary characteristics

The National Hydropower Association has recognized three companies through its Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters program for including “extraordinary” recreational, historical, environmental and educational values as parts of their normal operations.

This year’s OSAW recipients – New York Power Authority, PPL Montana and Tacoma Power – received their awards at NHA’s Annual Conference in April 2012 in Washington, D.C. “Leading through example, these awardees have raised the bar on excellence for the entire industry,” says Linda Church Ciocci, NHA executive director.

NHA conferred two awards in its Recreational, Environmental & Historical Enhancement category.

One, awarded to NYPA, recognizes the utility for its Little Beaver Island habitat improvement project. The area, on the Niagara River, was restored to its original wetland state and provides additional recreational benefits to the community.

PPL Montana was awarded for its Thompson Falls Upstream Fish Passageway. The project allows bull trout and other species access to hundreds of miles of the upstream Clark Fork River and is the first full-height fish passage ladder built specifically for bull trout in the U.S.

The last award, given to Tacoma Power in the Public Education category, recognizes the utility for its Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Visitor Center. The center allows visitors to explore the connection between salmon and what it calls the “Five H’s” – hatcheries, habitat, high seas, harvest and hydropower – through a number of custom-built exhibits.

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