FERC authorizes 19 hydropower projects of 87.7 MW in 2011

WASHINGTON 1/20/12 (PennWell) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued 19 hydropower licenses and exemptions in 2011, totaling 87.699 MW, all for conventional hydropower projects.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for December 2011, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, included figures for the entire calendar year of 2011, the second year for which the agency issued the annual figures.

Of the 19 licenses and exemptions issued, nine were licenses totaling 84.43 MW, one was a (maximum) 5-MW exemption of 850 kW, and nine were conduit exemptions totaling 2.419 MW. That compares to 2010 figures of six licenses totaling 15.297 MW, seven 5-MW exemptions totaling 2.117 MW, and 14 conduit exemptions totaling 23.347 MW.

FERC approved 13 capacity amendments to existing licenses totaling 50.217 MW. That compares to 2010 figures of 12 capacity amendments totaling 110.234 MW.

Filings seek 38 projects totaling 1,396.6 MW

Applications were filed in 2011 for 38 licenses and exemptions totaling 1,396.609 MW. Of those, 17 were for licenses for conventional hydro totaling 384.308 MW, one was for a pumped-storage project license of 1,000 MW, one was for a hydrokinetic license of 300 kW, six were for conventional 5-MW exemptions totaling 1.785 MW, and 13 were for conventional conduit exemptions totaling 10.216 MW. Applications also were filed for 14 capacity amendments totaling 224.37 MW.

That compares to 2010 applications: nine for conventional hydro licenses totaling 76.905 MW; two hydrokinetic licenses totaling 2.5 MW; three conventional 5-MW exemptions totaling 1.165 MW; one hydrokinetic 5-MW exemption of 50 watts; 15 conventional conduit exemptions totaling 8.572 MW; and 17 capacity amendments totaling 166.438 MW.

FERC said the 10 conventional projects placed in service in 2011 included three licenses totaling 22.2 MW, two 5-MW exemptions totaling 375 kW, and five conduit exemptions totaling 21.365 MW. There was one capacity amendment placed in service during the year of 3 MW. That compares to 2010 in-service figures of: three licenses totaling 15.540 MW; two 5-MW exemptions totaling 270 kW; two conduit exemptions totaling 763 kW; and one capacity amendment placed in service of 600 kW.

Hydro comprises 8.67 percent of U.S. generation

Citing figures from Ventyx Global LLC, the FERC update said U.S. electricity installed capacity in 2011 totaled 1,149.18 gigawatts (compared to 1,132.68 GW in 2010). Waterpower totaled 99.68 GW (99.1 GW in 2010), or 8.67 percent of the total (8.75 percent in 2010).

The three larger generating technologies are natural gas at 478.06 GW or 41.6 percent (462.12 GW, 40.8 percent in 2010); coal at 343.76 GW or 29.91 percent (343.97 GW, 30.37 percent in 2010); and nuclear power at 108.53 GW or 9.44 percent (108.31 GW, 9.56 percent in 2010). The largest non-hydropower renewable technology, wind, had total installed capacity of 45.13 GW, or 3.93 percent of the total (38.5 GW, 3.4 percent in 2010).

Two licenses, exemption issued in December

Listing activity for December 2011, the update said FERC issued two licenses and one exemption totaling 12.37 MW and received applications for three licenses and one exemption totaling 32.59 MW and applications for four capacity amendments totaling 160.95 MW.

FERC issued in December:
o License No. 12492, Ha-Best Inc., 1.26-MW Miner Shoal, Soque River, Demorest, Ga.
o License No. 13351, Marseilles Land & Water Co., 10.26-MW Marseilles Lock and Dam, at a Corps dam on Illinois River, Marseilles, Ill.;
o Exemption No. 13381, Jonathan and Jayne Chase, 850-kW Troy, Missisquoi River, Orleans County, Vt.

Developer Symbiotics LLC filed license applications in December on behalf of three subsidiary companies:
o Barren River Lake Hydro LLC, 6.8-MW Barren River Lake (No. 13022), Barren River, Allen County, Ky.;
o Oliver Hydro LLC, 11.7-MW William Bacon Oliver Lock and Dam (No. 13005), Black Warrior River, Tuscaloosa County, Ala.;
o Mississippi 8 Hydro LLC, 14-MW Lock and Dam 8 (No. 13010), at a Corps dam on the Mississippi River, Houston County, Minn.

Also in December, Historic Harrisville Inc. filed for a (maximum) 5-MW exemption from licensing for the 90-kW Cheshire Mills project (No. 14332), proposed for the existing Cheshire Mills Dam on Nubanusit Brook in Harrisville, N.H.

Amendments would boost capacity of two major projects

FERC also received applications for amendments that would increase the capacity of two major hydroelectric projects.

Licensee New York Power Authority filed to amend the license of its 2,755-MW Niagara project (No. 2216) to authorize rehabilitation of 12 20-MW pump-turbines at the 240-MW Lewiston pumped-storage plant in New York. Lewiston is part of NYPA’s Niagara project, with the 2,515-MW Robert Moses hydro plant. If approved, Lewiston would experience an installed capacity increase of 24 MW, to 264 MW, boosting the total Niagara project to 2,779 MW. NYPA proposes to replace turbine runners and perform other upgrades to the 50-year-old units.

Joint licensees Consumers Energy Co. and Detroit Edison Co. filed to amend the license of the 1,657.5-MW Ludington Pumped-Storage project (No. 2680) on Lake Michigan in Mason County, Mich. The utilities plan to upgrade Ludington’s six generating units by replacing pump-turbine runners and rewinding motor-generators. The work is to increase the project’s installed capacity by 127.5 MW to a total 1,785 MW.

In service: 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony Falls

FERC reported one project was placed in service in December, 8.98-MW Lower St. Anthony Falls (No. 12451) on the Mississippi River at Minneapolis. Brookfield Power reported that all 16 of the project’s Straflomatrix submersible turbine-generators achieved commercial operation Dec. 7 with an actual estimated capacity of 9.2 MW.

FERC, which previously used the infrastructure update as an in-house tool, began making the monthly update public beginning with December 2010. The report allows the public to track the activities of the Office of Energy Projects in the areas of hydropower, natural gas, electric generation, and electric transmission.

The Office of Energy Projects’ Energy Infrastructure Update for December 2011 may be obtained from the FERC Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/01-13-12-energy-infrastructure.pdf.

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