Industry News

FERC final EIS supports licensing 1,300-MW Eagle Mountain

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff has issued a final environmental impact statement recommending licensing of the 1,300-MW Eagle Mountain pumped-storage project, proposed for Riverside County, Calif. FERC staff issued a draft EIS in 2010 supporting issuance of a license to Eagle Crest Energy Co.

Utilizing a head of 1,400 feet between two reservoirs created from abandoned mining pits, Eagle Mountain would be a closed system. Because the site already has sustained significant environmental disturbance, further development for pumped storage would have little additional impact, Eagle Crest said.

The EIS, issued Jan. 30, analyzes the effects of the project as proposed by Eagle Crest, as well as the applicant’s proposal plus staff modifications primarily to mitigate environmental effects. It recommends licensing the project as proposed by Eagle Crest with some staff modifications and additional measures.

The primary environmental issues associated with the project are effects of its construction and operation on groundwater, water quality and terrestrial species.

The project includes construction of two saddle dams and liners for the reservoirs. Groundwater is to be pumped from a series of proposed wells in the Chuckwalla Basin to fill the reservoirs and replace water lost to evaporation. A reverse osmosis system is to be installed to remove salts and metals to help maintain water quality of the reservoirs and counteract degradation associated with evaporation.

Construction would employ about 100 during peak construction and provide tax revenues to county and local governments. Operation would provide about 30 jobs and substantial property tax payments.

The project, with staff modifications, would produce power that is $133.1 million, or about $30.90 per MWh, less than the cost of alternative power.

The final EIS may be obtained at

Ludington upgrade one step closer to completion

A US$800 million upgrade to Michigan’s Ludington Pumped-Storage Plant reached an important milestone in February after improvements to the Lake Michigan barge dock were completed. Preparations can now begin for the reception of six new, 290-ton turbine runners that will increase the facility’s capacity by 300 MW. Currently, the plant has a capacity of 1,872 MW.

The facility is jointly owned by Consumers Energy Company and Detroit Edison Company, who recently completed a comprehensive condition assessment and life extension study to determine how to best upgrade Ludington.

The two then filed to amend their license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year.

The companies say work on the project should be completed by 2019.

Cherokee Nation seeks funding for hydro project’s next phase

A unanimous decision by the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council will allow the tribe to move forward with its proposal to construct a US$144 million powerhouse at the W.D. Mayo Lock and Dam in Oklahoma.

The council’s vote authorizes Cherokee Nation Businesses to apply for more than $1 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which would be used to fund the fifth step in the project’s development.

The dam, on the Arkansas River, is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Interior’s grant would allow engineers to build a model necessary for the Corps to approve construction plans. Additionally, Phase V includes allocations for pre-construction and development, permits, environmental reviews, power purchase agreements, transmission and interconnection.

The plant will be owned by the Cherokee Nation, which holds the exclusive building rights to the Arkansas riverbed.

Plant capacity has not been an-nounced. A tribal council source says the powerhouse is being designed with a 100-year service life and a completion date of 2015.

The project was originally authorized by Congress in 1986 but tabled until 2009 when Interior’s Energy and Minerals Development Program (DOI-EMDP) funded Phase I.

PGU expands curriculum with five new courses

Five new courses have been added to the curriculum at Power Generation University, PennWell Corporation announces.

Power Generation University is an online resource where power generation professionals can meet their continuing educational needs in a variety of power-related topics.

Tuition for each course costs US$59, and students earn two professional development hours for each course completed.

PGU’s newest additions include:

  • An Analysis of Ramping Rates and Dispatch Timing: Matching Renewable and Traditional Energy Generation With Loads;
  • Stalking the Elusive kW: Searching for Design Output from an Existing Turbine Generator;
  • Mercury Reduction at Portland General Electric’s Boardman Station;
  • PV Power Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell System Performance in Malaysia; and
  • Xcel Energy Riverside Repowering Project.

For information about these and other courses, visit


LaFleur named keynote speaker for NHA Annual Conference

Cheryl A. LaFleur is the keynote speaker for the 2012 National Hydropower Association Annual Conference. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission commissioner LaFleur will speak Tuesday, April 17, during the Value of Hydropower to Transmission Planning and Policies plenary session.

Prior to her inauguration as commissioner in 2010, LaFleur spent more than 20 years as a leader in the New England electricity and gas industries. She retired in 2007 as executive vice president and acting chief executive of National Grid USA.

LaFleur’s keynote is one of many events taking place at this year’s NHA Annual Conference, which runs April 16-18 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.

Atlantic Electric wins bid for Corps’ Russell hydropower plant work

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a US$9.79 million contract to Atlantic Electric LLC for work at the 600-MW Richard B. Russell project on the Savannah River in Georgia.

As per the contract, Atlantic Electric will replace main unit breakers for Units 1 through 8 with government-furnished SF6 15-kV breakers, replace static excitation systems for Units 5 through 8 with government-furnished systems, and install a government-furnished static frequency converter system.

FERC authorizes 19 hydropower projects of 87.7 MW in 2011

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued 19 hydropower licenses and exemptions in 2011, totaling 87.699 MW, all for conventional projects.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for December 2011 included figures for the entire calendar year of 2011, the second year for which the agency issued the annual figures.

Of the 19 licenses and exemptions issued, nine were licenses totaling 84.43 MW, one was a (maximum) 5-MW exemption of 850 kW, and nine were conduit exemptions totaling 2.419 MW. That compares to 2010 figures of six licenses totaling 15.297 MW, seven 5-MW exemptions totaling 2.117 MW, and 14 conduit exemptions totaling 23.347 MW.

FERC approved 13 capacity amendments to existing licenses totaling 50.217 MW, compared to 12 capacity amendments totaling 110.234 MW in 2010.

Filings seek 38 projects totaling 1,396.6 MW

Applications were filed in 2011 for 38 licenses and exemptions totaling 1,396.609 MW. Of those, 17 were for licenses for conventional hydro totaling 384.308 MW, one was for a pumped-storage project license of 1,000 MW, one was for a hydrokinetic license of 300 kW, six were for conventional 5-MW exemptions totaling 1.785 MW, and 13 were for conventional conduit exemptions totaling 10.216 MW. Applications also were filed for 14 capacity amendments totaling 224.37 MW.

That compares to 2010 applications: nine for conventional hydro licenses totaling 76.905 MW; two hydrokinetic licenses totaling 2.5 MW; three conventional 5-MW exemptions totaling 1.165 MW; one hydrokinetic 5-MW exemption of 50 W; 15 conventional conduit exemptions totaling 8.572 MW; and 17 capacity amendments totaling 166.438 MW.

FERC said the 10 conventional projects placed in service in 2011 included three licenses totaling 22.2 MW, two 5-MW exemptions totaling 375 kW, and five conduit exemptions totaling 21.365 MW. There was one capacity amendment placed in service of 3 MW. That compares to 2010 figures of: three licenses totaling 15.540 MW; two 5-MW exemptions totaling 270 kW; two conduit exemptions totaling 763 kW; and one capacity amendment of 600 kW.

Hydro comprises 8.67% of U.S. generation

Citing figures from Ventyx Global LLC, FERC said U.S. electricity installed capacity in 2011 was 1,149.18 GW (1,132.68 GW in 2010). Waterpower totaled 99.68 GW (99.1 GW in 2010), or 8.67% of the total (8.75% in 2010).

The three larger technologies are natural gas at 478.06 GW or 41.6% (462.12 GW, 40.8% in 2010); coal at 343.76 GW or 29.91% (343.97 GW, 30.37% in 2010); and nuclear power at 108.53 GW or 9.44% (108.31 GW, 9.56% in 2010). The largest non-hydro renewable, wind, had total capacity of 45.13 GW, or 3.93% of the total (38.5 GW, 3.4% in 2010).

Two licenses, exemption issued in December

Listing activity for December 2011, the update said FERC issued two licenses and one exemption totaling 12.37 MW and received applications for three licenses and one exemption totaling 32.59 MW and applications for four capacity amendments totaling 160.95 MW.

FERC issued in December:

  • License 12492, Ha-Best Inc., 1.26-MW Miner Shoal, Soque River, Demorest, Ga.
  • License 13351, Marseilles Land & Water Co., 10.26-MW Marseilles Lock and Dam, at a Corps dam on Illinois River, Marseilles, Ill.; and
  • Exemption 13381, Jonathan and Jayne Chase, 850-kW Troy, Missisquoi River, Orleans County, Vt.

Developer Symbiotics LLC filed license applications in December on behalf of three subsidiary companies:

  • Barren River Lake Hydro LLC, 6.8-MW Barren River Lake (No. 13022), Barren River, Allen County, Ky.;
  • Oliver Hydro LLC, 11.7-MW William Bacon Oliver Lock and Dam (No. 13005), Black Warrior River, Tuscaloosa County, Ala.; and
  • Mississippi 8 Hydro LLC, 14-MW Lock and Dam 8 (No. 13010), at a Corps dam on the Mississippi River, Houston County, Minn.

Also in December, Historic Harrisville Inc. filed for a (maximum) 5-MW exemption for the 90-kW Cheshire Mills project (No. 14332), proposed for the existing Cheshire Mills Dam on Nubanusit Brook in Harrisville, N.H.


Amendments would boost capacity of two major projects

FERC also received applications for capacity-related amendments.

Licensee New York Power Authority filed to amend the license of its 2,755-MW Niagara project (No. 2216) to authorize rehabilitation of 12 20-MW pump-turbines at the 240-MW Lewiston pumped-storage plant. Lewiston, part of NYPA’s Niagara project, would experience an installed capacity increase of 24 MW, to 264 MW, boosting the total Niagara project to 2,779 MW.

Joint licensees Consumers Energy Co. and Detroit Edison Co. filed to amend the license of the 1,657.5-MW Ludington Pumped-Storage project (No. 2680) on Lake Michigan in Mason County, Mich. The utilities plan to upgrade Ludington’s six generating units. The work is to increase the project’s installed capacity by 127.5 MW to a total 1,785 MW.

In service: 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony Falls

FERC reported one project was placed in service in December, 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River at Minneapolis. Brookfield Power reported all 16 of the project’s Straflomatrix turbine-generators achieved commercial operation Dec. 7 with an estimated capacity of 9.2 MW.

The December 2011 update is available at

Voith Hydro wins contract for work at Hoover Dam

Voith Hydro has received a $3.3 million contract to provide parts and labor for Unit A8 at the 2,078-MW Hoover Dam by the Bureau of Reclamation.

The contract calls for the design, manufacture and delivery of one vertical Francis wide-head-range turbine runner. Voith Hydro is also to deliver a set of wicket gates and a replacement.

The work is part of Reclamation’s effort to more efficiently generate power over a wider range of lake levels.

Duke, Progress to submit new merger mitigation plan to FERC

Duke Energy and Progress Energy are preparing a new mitigation plan intended to meet Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerns about a merger that would create the largest utility in the U.S.

FERC rejected the utilities’ proposed mitigation plan to remedy what it found to be harmful effects of the merger on utility competition in North and South Carolina. FERC’s Dec. 14, 2011, ruling noted the commission already approved the merger, provided Duke and Progress proposed acceptable mitigation measures to protect competition.

The combined company would have about 57,000 MW of generating capacity from hydroelectric, coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil and other renewable generation. It would serve 7.1 million electric customers in North and South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

FERC said the proposed merger would concentrate the utilities’ monopoly power to unacceptable levels in the Carolinas. The commission said the utilities’ mitigation proposal did not eliminate the opportunity for the merged company to act anti-competitively. Although Duke and Progress described the proposal as a “virtual divestiture” of 225 to 500 MW of capacity in certain seasons, FERC said the plan would not divest control of the energy the applicants proposed to sell.

Duke and Progress said the setback changes the timeline for closure of the merger to March at the earliest. It had been proposed for the end of 2011.

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