FERC approves license surrender for 478-kW Arctic Hydroelectric Project in Rhode Island

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the U.S. has approved the surrender of the operating license for the 478-kW Arctic Hydroelectric Project on the South Bank of the Pawtuxet River in Rhode Island.

The project consists of a 110-foot-long by 28-foot-high granite masonry dam, a reservoir with “negligible storage,” a 115-foot-long headrace, a powerhouse containing a single 479-kW turbine-generator unit, a tailrace and appurtenant facilities.

License holder Natco Products Corporation filed its surrender application on Dec. 31, 2019.

A 40-year license for the project was issued in January 1983 to Arctic Development Corporation and transferred to Natco in September 1987. The license expires in December 2022 but the project has not operated since 2015 due to an inoperable generating unit.

In December 2017, Natco filed a notice of intent to file an application for a subsequent license, and FERC approved the use of the traditional licensing process in February 2018. However, in September 2019 the licensee filed a request to withdraw its intent to relicense the project and alternatively proposed to surrender the project. Upon review of the study requests associated with relicensing the project, Natco determined that the studies and potential license requirements, in combination with anticipated costs to resume generation, made continued operation of the project uneconomical. FERC issued public notice soliciting potential new license applications for the project in September 2019 but no responsive filings were received.

For the surrender, the licensee proposes to lower the stoplogs and install a steel or concrete bulkhead at the entrance to the penstock, close and lock the two turbine gate control arms, and remove all fuses from the electrical fuse panel box and lock the box to isolate generation facilities from the power grid. All river flows will pass over the spillway, except during operation of the low-level outlet located at the left abutment for dam maintenance.

Author

  • Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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