FERC approves transfer of five Maine projects to investment firm

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved transfer of five Maine hydroelectric projects from PPL Corp. affiliate PPL Maine to Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC.

PPL Corp. agreed in July to sell the majority of its PPL Maine hydroelectric generation business to Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC, an affiliate of Boston-based energy investment firm Arclight Capital Partners LLC. (HydroWorld 7/1/09)

FERC’s Sept. 17, 2009, order approved hydro license transfers for PPL’s five wholly owned hydro projects in Maine totaling 25 MW: 8.9-MW Ellsworth (No. 2727), 2.78-MW Orono (No. 2710), 3.44-MW Medway (No. 2666), 8-MW Milford (No. 2534), and 1.95-MW Stillwater (No. 2712).

The commission said Black Bear agreed to accept all terms and conditions of the hydro licenses. It said approval of the transfer is contingent on transfer of title of the properties and Black Bear’s formal acknowledgement that it accepts the order.

The FERC order did not speak to the proposed transfer of PPL’s 50 percent ownership in the 13-MW West Enfield project (No. 2600), whose other half already is owned by Arclight affiliate Black Bear Power LLC.

The $95 million purchase price includes certain contingent consideration to be realized upon completion of PPL’s previously announced sale of three other hydro projects to Penobscot River Restoration Trust. The trust raised $25 million to acquire and remove 8-MW Veazie (No. 2403) and 8-MW Great Works (No. 2312) dams and bypass 2-MW Howland (No. 2721) to open hundreds of miles of the Penobscot River system to Atlantic salmon and other fish. The sale is pending approval by federal and state agencies.

In July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded $6.1 million in economic stimulus money to Penobscot River Restoration Trust to help fund removal of the Great Works project. (HydroWorld 7/2/09)

PPL Maine recently completed a $5.2 million project to renovate and recommission Orono, which sat idle since a 1996 penstock failure. In 2006, the company increased output of Medway, West Enfield, and Stillwater by adding flashboards to the three dams.

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