City asks FERC to reinstate, transfer licenses for Connecticut hydro projects

Under terms of an act of Congress, the town of Canton, Conn., has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reinstate the licenses of two Connecticut hydroelectric projects and to transfer the licenses to the city.

In 2014, Congress approved legislation to allow reinstatement of the licenses of the 373-kW Upper Collinsville (No. 10822) and 920-kW Lower Collinsville (No. 10823) projects on the Farmington River in Hartford County, Conn. The legislation also called for transfer of the licenses to the town of Canton.

The Collins Co. generated hydropower at the plants from the early 1900s until closure in 1966. The sites subsequently were licensed by the Metropolitan District under FERC project No. 7048 in 1986, and Summit Hydro as the 373-kW Upper Collinsville (No. 10822) and 920-kW Lower Collinsville (No. 10823) projects in 2001. Because Summit did not start construction, FERC issued a notice of intent to terminate its licenses that became final in 2008.

The legislation, by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., would extend the construction start deadline for another two years and allow FERC to add new conditions to the licenses if necessary and would require FERC to supplement its environmental analysis to include any new environmental information.

Canton First Selectman Richard Barlow wrote FERC June 23 urging the agency to follow through with the directive from Congress.

The original license had an effective date of Feb. 1, 2001, and an initial term of 40 years. However, the licenses were terminated with an effective date of Jan. 3, 2008. The city noted a “worst case scenario” would reinstate the licenses using the original license expiration of Jan. 31, 2041, leaving a license term of only 24 to 25 years.

The city said a license term of more than 24 to 25 years is needed secure a developer lease and to facilitate financing. It asked FERC to add back the eight-year “hiatus period,” amending the expiration date to Jan. 31, 2049.

Canton noted it issued a request for proposals for a developer/operator for Upper Collinsville, with a bid due date of July 7. It said, based on the results of the solicitation, it would issue another RFP to develop Lower Collinsville.

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