FERC authorizes 36 hydropower projects totaling 106.7 MW in 2012

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued 36 hydropower licenses and exemptions in 2012, totaling 106.697 MW. The total included four hydrokinetic projects totaling 2.95 MW.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for December 2012, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, included figures for the entire calendar year of 2012, the third year for which the agency issued the annual figures.

Of the 36 licenses and exemptions issued, 12 were conventional licenses totaling 89.19 MW, four were hydrokinetic licenses totaling 2.95 MW, two were (maximum) 5-MW exemptions totaling 1.125 MW, and 18 were conduit exemptions totaling 13.432 MW. That compares to 2011 figures of nine licenses totaling 84.43, one 5-MW exemption of 850 kW, and nine conduit exemptions totaling 2.419 MW.

FERC approved 16 capacity amendments to existing licenses totaling 208.107 MW. That compares to 2011 figures of 13 capacity amendments totaling 50.217 MW.

Filings in 2012 seek 36 projects totaling 59.161 MW

Applications were filed in 2012 for 36 licenses and exemptions totaling 59.161 MW. Of those, 14 were for conventional licenses totaling 52.655 MW, two were for hydrokinetic licenses totaling 1.1 MW, three were for (maximum) 5-MW exemptions totaling 931 kW, and 17 were for conduit exemptions totaling 4.475 MW. Applications also were filed for five capacity amendments totaling 18.383 MW.

That compares to 2011 applications: 17 for conventional hydro licenses totaling 384.308 MW; one pumped-storage project license of 1,000 MW; one hydrokinetic license of 300 kW; six 5-MW exemptions totaling 1.785 MW; 13 conduit exemptions totaling 10.216 MW; and 14 capacity amendments totaling 224.37 MW.

FERC said the six projects placed in service in 2012 included four licenses totaling 17.58 MW, one 5-MW exemption of 170 kW, and one conduit exemption of 1 MW. That compares to 2011 in-service figures of: three licenses totaling 22.2 MW; two 5-MW exemptions totaling 375 kW; five conduit exemptions totaling 21.365 MW; and one capacity amendment placed in service of 3 kW.

Hydro comprises 8.47 percent of U.S. generation

Citing figures from Ventyx Global LLC, the FERC update said U.S. electricity installed capacity in 2012 totaled 1,157.86 gigawatts (compared to 1,149.18 GW in 2011). Waterpower totaled 98.12 GW (down from 99.68 GW in 2011), or 8.47 percent of the total (8.67 percent in 2011).

The three larger generating technologies are natural gas at 491.82 GW or 42.48 percent (478.06, 41.6 percent in 2011); coal at 337.71 GW or 29.17 percent (343.76 GW, 29.91 percent in 2011); and nuclear power at 107.01 GW or 9.24 percent (108.53 GW, 9.44 percent in 2011). The largest non-hydropower renewable technology, wind, had total installed capacity of 57.53 GW, or 4.97 percent of the total (45.13 GW, 3.93 percent in 2011).

FERC issues license, exemption in December

Listing activity for December 2012, the update said FERC issued one license and one exemption totaling less than a megawatt and received one license application during the month.

FERC issued a license to Western Technical College for the 205-kW Angelo Dam project (No. 13417), to be built on Wisconsin’s LaCrosse River at an existing dam owned by Monroe County, Wis. The commission also issued a conduit exemption to P Coulee Powerplant LLC for the 60-kW P Coulee project (No. 14448) to be built on the Twin Falls Canal Co. irrigation system in Twin Falls County, Idaho.

FERC also amended the exemption held by Tarrant Regional Water District of Tarrant, Texas, increasing the capacity of the 1.3-MW Arlington Outlet project (No. 13946) to 1.35 MW.

Free Flow Power Corp. filed a license application in December on behalf of PayneBridge LLC for the 4-MW Williams Dam project (No. 13346). The project would be built on Williams Dam, which is owned by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, on the East Fork White River in Lawrence County, Ind.

Duke seeks capacity increase at 732.6-MW Catawba-Wateree

Duke Energy Carolinas LLC filed an application to amend the license of its 732.6-MW Catawba-Wateree hydroelectric project (No. 2232) in South Carolina and North Carolina. Duke seeks to increase total project capacity to 739.05 MW by replacing turbine runners at the project’s 36-MW Oxford and 26-MW Rhodhiss developments.

Duke said it had planned to install the upgraded runners, as part of the relicensing of Catawba-Wateree, to meet flow release and water quality enhancements in a relicensing agreement. However, the relicensing process has been delayed. In December, the South Carolina Court of Appeals reversed a lower court finding that South Carolina waived its right to issue water quality certification necessary for the relicensing. Duke has requested rehearing.

Duke decided to seek the amendment in order to qualify for production tax credits for incremental generation resulting from the new runners. The licensee said it only recently learned from the equipment manufacturer that the new aerating runners would increase significantly the hydraulic and generating capacity of the two developments.

FERC recently approved a request by Duke for production tax credit certification of incremental generation from replacement of Catawba-Wateree’s 20-MW Bridgewater development with a new 31.5-MW powerhouse.

FERC reports 4.4-MW Jordan hydro project formally placed in service

FERC’s infrastructure update also reported Hydro Matrix L.P. placed the 4.4-MW Jordan hydroelectric project (No. 11437) in service in December in Chatham County, N.C.

The Jordan project is considered a first-of-its-kind installation of a hydro plant on the discharge tower of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam. The Corps operates B. Everett Jordan Dam for flood control on the Haw River.

Hydro Matrix awarded a contract in 2008 to China Huadian Engineering Co. to supply generating equipment for the project. Kleinschmidt Associates served as owner’s engineer, while North Fork Electric Inc. constructed project features. W.V. Hydro Inc. is general partner of Hydro Matrix L.P.

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 2012 may be obtained from the FERC Internet site under https://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/dec-2012-energy-infrastructure.pdf.

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