FERC certifies Maine, Michigan hydro projects for production tax credits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has certified incremental generation at hydroelectric projects in Maine and Michigan for renewable energy production tax credits.

The commission issued an order March 2 certifying incremental generation at the 14.75-MW Weston project (No. 2325) on the Kennebec River in Somerset County, Maine. NextEra Energy Maine Operating Services LLC applied for PTC certification on behalf of licensee FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC.

The applicant cited efficiency improvements from replacing the Unit 1 turbine runner with a more efficient runner of equal size. The 4.5-MW unit went into service Dec. 23, 2008.

FERC certified an annual historical generation baseline of 85,776,000 kilowatt-hours and incremental generation from the improvement of 2,929,000 kWh, an increase of 3.42 percent in generation.

Maine’s 4.468-MW Benton Falls certified

FERC also certified on March 2 the incremental generation of the 4.468-MW Benton Falls hydroelectric project (No. 5073) on the Sebasticook River in Kennebec County, Maine.

Hydro operator Benton Falls Associates requested certification for production tax credits due to replacement of a fish screen on its 750-kW Unit 2 that allowed nighttime operation during eel migration. (HydroWorld 1/21/10)

FERC certified an annual historical generation baseline of 15,757,117 kilowatt-hours and incremental generation from the improvement of 300,867 kWh, an increase of 1.91 percent.

FERC certifies PTC for new turbine at Michigan’s 33-MW Hardy

FERC certified incremental generation resulting from installation of a replacement turbine at the 33-MW Hardy hydroelectric project on Michigan’s Muskegon River (No. 2452).

Licensee Consumers Energy Co. replaced the original 1930 turbine in Unit 3 and rewound the unit’s generator. (HydroWorld 3/12/09) The new turbine has a capacity of 11.4 MW, up from 10.8 MW. The project’s total capacity following the upgrade is 33 MW.

FERC’s March 3 order certified an annual historical generation baseline of 91,382,000 kilowatt-hours and incremental generation from the improvement of 8,162,000 kWh, an increase of 8.93 percent.

PTC sought for 4.85-MW Gilman on Connecticut River

Hydro operator Ampersand Gilman Hydro LP requested certification of incremental generation at its 4.85-MW Gilman hydroelectric project on the Connecticut River in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Ampersand Gilman applied in February, saying it completed four efficiency improvement projects since it took operational control of the Gilman project (No. 2392) in August 2008. It seeks certification of efficiency improvements for 2008 and 2009.

The licensee said the project has an annual historical generation baseline of 21,359,822 kilowatt-hours for 2008 and incremental generation of 3,541,498 kWh, an increase of 16.58 percent for that year. For 2009, it listed the increased historical generation baseline of 24,901,379 kWh and new incremental generation of 1,369,936 kWh, an additional increase of 5.5 percent for that year.

FERC requires amendment before certifying 5.52-MW Waterbury

FERC dismissed an application to certify incremental generation at the 5.52-MW Waterbury project in Vermont until licensee Green Mountain Power Corp. obtains a hydropower license amendment covering the efficiency improvement.

On behalf of the licensee, Kleinschmidt Associates filed for PTC certification of efficiency improvements due to replacement of a turbine runner with a new, more efficient runner. FERC said its review found the improvement increased Waterbury’s hydraulic capacity by 14 percent to 670 cubic feet per second from 586 cfs.

FERC said Feb. 22 that it could not act on certification until the project license (No. 2090) is amended to reflect the turbine replacement. It said Green Mountain could reapply when the license is amended.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a $20.5 million project in 2007 to repair seepage and other problems at Waterbury Dam. (Hydro Review, March 2007) The Civilian Conservation Corps completed the dam in 1938 as part of flood protection for the Winooski River Basin. Generation was added in 1953.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the Internal Revenue Code to apply a production tax credit to incremental production gains from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydropower facilities placed in service after Aug. 8, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2014. The Internal Revenue Service determines whether to grant the credits after FERC certifies hydropower production. FERC has certified incremental generation for more than three dozen hydro projects since August 2005.

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