Auburn, N.Y., seeks hydro system owner, operator

The city of Auburn seeks proposals to own or operate the city’s existing and future hydroelectric systems on the Owasco River. Preliminary proposals are due Feb. 28, 2009.

The city said it is interested in privatization or a public/private partnership that would: maximize income and benefits to the city; maximize the generation of electricity from the hydroelectric system; and keep the system maintained and in good working order.

The city’s system includes two hydro plants and three potential hydro plant sites. The city seeks to license, lease, or sell control of the five sites to an experienced private operator or private partner.

The hydro system consists of: 410-kW Mill Street (No. 4372), a fully developed, but currently non-operating run-of-river project, and 800-kW North Division Street (No. 8949). Sites that could support hydropower development include a former Dunn and McCarthy shoe factory, an Aurelieus Avenue site, and a Canoga Street site. The Aurelieus Avenue and Canoga Street sites feature old concrete dams where water wheels operated adjacent factories.

The city also operates State Dam, which controls the depth of water in Owasco Lake. However, the city said it would not include the site in the preliminary request for proposals as it does not consider the site to be suited for hydropower development.

Preliminary proposals are due Feb. 28, 2009, to the address below. The city plans to issue a final RFP to a short list of finalists about April 1. Final proposals are due May 15. The successful bidder will be named about June 15. The agreement could require voter approval Nov. 3.

For information, contact City Manager Mark Palesh, Memorial City Hall, 24 South St., Auburn, NY 13021; (1) 315-255-4146; E-mail: mpalesh@ci.auburn.ny.us.

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