Low-impact hydro group considers certification applications

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute is considering new applications for certification or recertification of projects in Georgia, Oregon, and Rhode Island as �low-impact� hydropower.

Georgia: 2.3-MW Tallassee Shoals

Tallassee LLC submitted an application for recertification of the 2.3-MW Tallassee Shoals hydroelectric project (No. 6951) on the Middle Oconee River, near Athens, Ga. The project’s initial certification, received July 22, 2004, expires April 23. Comments on the application for recertification are due April 25.

The run-of-river project is equipped with a fixed Kaplan unit installed within the dam and an adjustable Kaplan unit several hundreds yards downstream.

The project began operating in 1986 and ceased operations in early 2000 while under the ownership of the original licensee due to mechanical problems with the turbines. Tallassee LLC acquired the facility in January 2009 and is in the process of upgrading and repairing the generating units.

Oregon: 4.8-MW Farmers Irrigation District

Farmers Irrigation District submitted an application for certification of its 4.8-MW Farmers Irrigation District Hydropower Project (No. 6801), on tributaries and the mainstem of the Hood River near the Columbia River Gorge west of Portland, Ore. Comments are due to LIHI by May 25.

Farmers Irrigation built hydroelectric plants in the mid-1980s to sell energy to Bonneville Power Administration, earning revenue for water conservation, stream restoration, and fish screen projects. The project consists of two powerhouses. The upper powerhouse contains a generator with a horizontal-axis Pelton turbine; the lower powerhouse contains two generators driven by horizontal-axis Francis turbines.

Rhode Island: 1.3-MW Pawtucket

Pawtucket Hydropower LLC filed an application to recertify its 1.3-MW Pawtucket Hydroelectric Project (No. 3689), on the Blackstone River in Rhode Island. Certification of the facility is valid for five years and expires April 23. The public comment period on the application expires June 13.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an exemption from licensing in 1981 to the project’s previous owner, Blackstone Valley Electric Co. Blackstone Valley Electric transferred ownership to Pawtucket Hydropower in 1999. The project’s Kaplan turbines and generators produce an average annual generation of 4,000 megawatt-hours.

LIHI certifies projects based on �low-impact� criteria for river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation, and whether the dam has been recommended for removal. The voluntary program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low-impact hydropower facilities for emerging �green� energy markets. (HNN 2/5/09)

The applications and information on methods for submitting comments are posted on the website www.lowimpacthydro.org under the link “Pending Applications.”

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