Generation increases at first of three Penobscot River dams

In partial compensation for its concessions to help restore Atlantic salmon to Maine’s Penobscot River, PPL Corp. announced May 31 it has increased generation at its 1.95-MW Stillwater project (No. 2712).

PPL told a news conference that generation increases planned this spring at Stillwater and two other Penobscot dams will provide enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.

In 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved amendments to five PPL project licenses, implementing a settlement to restore Atlantic salmon and other migratory fish to the river.

The settlement called for PPL to sell three Penobscot River dams for $25 million to a coalition that pledges to remove or bypass the dams. In return, the settlement agreed to improvements at four remaining hydro developments, enabling PPL to retain more than 90 percent of its original generation.

PPL said it plans to complete work by mid-June to increase generation at its 3.44-MW Medway (No. 2666) and 13-MW West Enfield (No. 2600) projects. The work there and at Stillwater involves adding flashboards at the top of each dam, raising the water level by a foot and increasing the pressure of water flowing through turbines. PPL anticipates annual generation increases of 965 MWh at Stillwater, 2,303 MWh at Medway, and 5,800 MWh at West Enfield.

A decision to further expand output at Stillwater, Medway, 8-MW Milford (No. 2534), and 2.323-MW Orono (No. 2710), has not been made and will depend on factors such as market conditions, PPL said.

The non-profit Penobscot River Restoration Trust holds a five-year option to raise funds to buy 8-MW Veazie (No. 2403), 8-MW Great Works (No. 2312), and 2-MW Howland (No. 2721) dams. Veazie and Great Works are to be removed, and Howland Dam is to be decommissioned.

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