FERC certifies tax credits for six hydro projects in four states

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has certified incremental generation for renewable energy production tax credits at six hydroelectric projects in New Hampshire, California, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

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.

Tax grants sought in lieu of PTC for 623-kW Peterborough

FERC approved a request Sept. 4 from American Hydro Inc. for certification of incremental generation at the 623-kW Peterborough project (No. 7410) on Nubansuit Brook in Hillsborough County, N.H. Certification is for efficiency improvements due to upgrade of pond level control and automation at Peterborough’s two developments, Verney Mill Dam and Union Street Dam.

Instead of seeking certification for a production tax credit, American Hydro plans to use FERC certification to apply for a tax grant in lieu of the PTC, as allowed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. FERC certification is a prerequisite for issuance of a tax grant by the Treasury Department.

FERC found Peterborough had an annual historical generation baseline of 1,430.9 MWh and incremental generation of 207.5 MWh, a 14.5 percent increase, for new total generation of 1,638.4 MWh.

PG&E wins certification for two California projects

FERC granted certification of incremental generation at two California projects operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 312.33-MW Pit 3, 4, and 5 (No. 233) and 192.5-MW Drum-Spaulding (No. 2310).

PG&E requested certification for Pit 3, 4, and 5 due to upgrade of Unit 2 of Pit 5 powerhouse on the Pit River in Shasta County, Calif. The upgrade, involving installation of a new runner and wicket gates, and upgrades to electrical and mechanical components, is similar to an upgrade to Pit 5’s Unit 4, which was certified by FERC in 2008.

FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 974,522.3 MWh for the powerhouse, and generation with improvements of 977,543.3 MWh. FERC certified incremental generation of 3,021 MWh, a 0.31 percent increase.

PG&E requested certification for Drum-Spaulding, on the South Yuba, Bear, and North Fork American rivers, due to upgrade of Unit 5 of the Drum 2 development in Nevada and Placer counties of California. The upgrade involved replacing the turbine runner and rebuilding the needle servos.

FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 283,632 MWh, generation with improvements of 290,750 MWh, and incremental generation of 7,118 MWh, a 2.51 percent increase.

Alcoa wins certification for 210-MW Yadkin

The commission also approved a request by Alcoa Power Generating Inc. to certify incremental generation from the upgrade of Unit 1 of the 109-MW Narrows development of Alcoa’s 210-MW Yadkin hydroelectric project (No. 2197) on the Yadkin River in North Carolina.

Alcoa cited incremental generation from replacement of the turbine runner and related equipment of Unit 1, which was completed in April 2009.

FERC found the Narrows development had an annual historical generation baseline of 530,700 MWh and total incremental generation of 4,000 MWh, a 0.75 percent increase, to a new total annual generation of 534,700 MWh.

FERC certifies two new units at 125-MW Holtwood Expansion

FERC approved a request by PPL Holtwood LLC to certify incremental generation resulting from installation of two new turbine-generators at the 125-MW Holtwood Expansion project on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.

The approval follows certification in 2011 of incremental generation resulting from replacement of two 1.18-MW turbine-generators at the original 108-MW Holtwood hydroelectric project (No. 1881).

In its current request, PPL Holtwood said it plans to use FERC certification to apply for a tax grant from the Treasury Department in lieu of the production tax credit. FERC certified incremental generation for installation of new Units 18 and 19.

FERC found Holtwood had annual historical baseline generation of 613,244 MWh and incremental generation of 378,490 MWh, or a 61.7 percent increase from the improvements, for new annual generation of 991,734 MWh.

Minimum flow unit wins certification at 26.175-MW East Fork

FERC also approved a request by Duke Energy Carolinas LLC to certify incremental generation from installation of a 395-kW minimum flow turbine at the Cedar Cliff development of its 26.175-MW East Fork project (No. 2698) on the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County, N.C.

The new unit is to utilize additional minimum flows required by a relicense for the East Fork project.

FERC found the project had an annual historical generation baseline of 24,629 MWh and incremental generation of 1,485 MWh, a 6 percent increase, for new total generation of 26,114 MWh.

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