Commissioner Kelly: FERC to expedite incremental hydro

Commissioner Suedeen Kelly addressed the National Hydropower Association annual conference April 4, saying the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is ready to expedite requests for certification of incremental hydropower production in the United States.

FERC certification is required for incremental hydropower to qualify for a production tax credit established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The hydro industry hopes the incentive will spur the expansion of existing hydro plants and the addition of generating units to non-hydro dams and water facilities.

The production tax credit’s in-service deadline for qualified projects is Jan. 1, 2008, making speedy FERC approval important to secure the incentive.

Kelly also told NHA that FERC is willing to encourage development of new technology. She cited the 10-MW Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Hydroelectric project in New York City’s East River, which is being developed by NHA member Verdant Power LLC.

In 2005, FERC granted Verdant permission to test six turbines on the river bottom; those prototype units are expected to begin operating in April. The project (No. 12611) eventually is to deploy 494 21-kW free-flow tidal power turbine-generators below the river’s surface.

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