Brookfield Renewable makes deal for Alcoa’s 351-MW Tapoco hydroelectric project

GATINEAU, Quebec, Canada 7/3/12 (PennWell) — Canada-based power producer Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners has struck a deal worth US$600 million with Alcoa Inc. to purchase its 351-MW Tapoco hydropower project.

Tapoco, which includes four hydropower generating sites — Calderwood, Cheoah, Chilhowee and Santeetlah — is located on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah rivers along the Tennessee/North Carolina border.

“The Tapoco facilities are proven generation assets and attractively situated in our core markets,” says Brookfield Renewable Energy Chief Executive Officer Richard Legault.

“The southern United States has favorable supply-demand dynamics with one of the highest areas of load growth in the U.S. and over the long-term should benefit from planned coal retirements and scarcity value by delivering clean, sustainable and on-peak renewable power.”

The deal also includes 86 miles of transmission line and about 14,500 acres of land in addition to four generating stations and dams.

“We believe this acquisition provides a unique opportunity to capture rising electricity prices, and our operating platform and expertise is well-suited to maximize the value of this portfolio over the long term,” Legault says.

HydroWorld.com reported in June that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had approved requests by Alcoa for upgrades at the Cheoah hydropower site. The work was part of a modernization project announced in August 2010.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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Brookfield Renewable Power seeks delay in fish-friendly hydro turbine plan

Brookfield Renewable Power is asking for more time from federal regulators to install a fish-friendly hydro turbine at its 39-MW hydropower plant at Cohoes Falls in New York.

Under the requirements of its 40-year license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2007, Brookfield is expected to install the new type of turbine by next year, wire services reported.

In 2009, Brookfield asked to delay deployment of the fish-friendly turbine by two years because it was still in development by Alden Research Laboratory in Holden, Mass., which is designing the new technology in conjunction with Electric Power Research Institute.

That design process is still ongoing, and on Jan. 6, Brookfield wrote a letter to FERC asking for another extension, this time for three years. If approved by FERC, the new deadline to start construction would be in 2014, with the project completed by 2017.

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