U.S. approves 66-MW increase for 600-MW Bear Swamp

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved plans to add 66 MW to the 600-MW Bear Swamp pumped-storage plant through equipment upgrades to the plant, on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts.

FERC issued an order Aug. 13 amending the operating license held by Bear Swamp Power Co. LLC for the Bear Swamp project (No. 2669). The project features the 600-MW pumped-storage plant and a second hydro plant, 10-MW Fife Brook. Bear Swamp Power Co. LLC is a joint venture of Brookfield Renewable Power and Emera Inc. The partners bought the project, once owned by USGen New England, for $92 million from a creditors group in 2005.

Massachusetts agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection and the Energy Facilities Siting Board, also approved the capacity addition.

Plans call for replacement of both pump-turbine runners in the Bear Swamp development, increasing turbine output to 338 MW from 305 MW. Overhaul of each motor-generator is to increase output to 333 MW from 300 MW. Therefore, the total installed capacity of the Bear Swamp development would increase 11 percent to 666 MW. Total hydraulic capacity would increase 14 percent to 6,200 cubic feet per second from 5,430 cfs. No changes are proposed for the Fife Brook powerhouse. Once all work is complete, total project capacity would be 676 MW.

Brookfield said it plans to increase capacity through maintenance, overhaul, and replacement activities involving the facility’s original equipment.

Brookfield said it is reviewing bids for the work to determine financing and timing requirements. Refurbishment of the turbine-generators and associated equipment must begin by Aug. 12, 2010, and be complete by Aug. 12, 2013.

Bear Swamp began operating in the 1970s. The project consists of an impounded upper reservoir, an underground powerhouse containing the two pump-turbine motor-generators, and a lower reservoir, impounded by Fife Brook Dam, site of the second powerhouse. Brookfield and Emera previously completed a $125 million loan agreement for the joint venture, which operates Bear Swamp. (HNN 5/7/07)

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