FERC issues preliminary permit for 6-MW Edenville Dam Hydroelectric Project in Michigan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a preliminary permit to Four Lakes Task Force to study the feasibility of the 6-MW Edenville Dam Hydroelectric Project on the Tittabawassee and Tobacco river system in Michigan.

The project, located immediately upstream of the confluence of the two rivers in Gladwin and Midland counties, would consist of:

  • The existing Wixom Lake, with 40,000 care-feet at a normal maximum surface elevation of 676.1 feet
  • An existing earthen gravity dam 6,200 feet long with a minimum crest elevation of 682.1 feet
  • Two spillways, one 686.feet wide and fitted with three tainter gates and the second 72.2 feet wide and fitted with three tainter gates
  • An existing concrete and steel powerhouse containing two 2.4-MW turbine-generator units
  • A new concrete and steel powerhouse containing one 1.2-MW turbine-generator unit
  • An existing 2.3-kV transmission line conveying the project power to the Edenville Dam Substation owned by Consumers Energy

The proposed project would have annual generation of 21,000 MWh.

According to FERC, “Section 4(f) of the FPA authorizes the Commission to issue preliminary permits for the purpose of enabling prospective applicants for a hydropower license to secure the data and perform the acts required by section 9 of the FPA, which in turn sets forth the material that must accompany an application for license. The purpose of a preliminary permit is to preserve the right of the permit holder to have the first priority in applying for a license for the project that is being studied. Because a permit is issued only to allow the permit holder to investigate the feasibility of a project while the permittee conducts investigations and secures necessary data to determine the feasibility of the proposed project and to prepare a license application, it grants no land-disturbing or other property rights.”

The preliminary permit is effective for 48 months and was issued Dec. 1, 2019.

The Four Lakes Task Force is a “delegated authority” formally created by resolutions passed in Midland and Gladwin counties. It was formed to ensure that the water levels in four lakes – Smallwood, Secord, Sanford and Wixom – are sustainable for the community for future generations. The task force “administer[s] and oversee[s] the maintenance of the four dams and lakes, so the lake communities can enjoy the water long into the future.”

Although the information released by FERC does not specify, this appears to be a repowering of the 4.8-MW Edenville hydro plant previously operated by Boyce Hydro Power LLC. The license for this facility was revoked in September 2018.

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