FERC certifies Wisconsin, Pennsylvania projects for tax credits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has certified incremental generation at the 11.6-MW Dells hydroelectric project in Wisconsin and the 29.08-MW Piney project in Pennsylvania for renewable energy production tax credits.

11.6-MW Dells

Midwestern utility Xcel Energy sought the federal production tax credit for efficiency improvements from turbine replacements and upgrades at Dells (No. 2670), on the Chippewa River in Chippewa County, Wis.

Xcel performed $24.1 million in improvements at Dells, which was built in 1876. It renovated Unit 1, replaced turbines and generators of Units 2-4, replaced the turbine and rewound the generator of Unit 5, decommissioned Units 6 and 7 and rerouted that water to the other units, and replaced governors and switchgear. The work, authorized by FERC’s project relicense in 2002, added about 4.2 MW to project capacity.

In a Nov. 20, 2009, order, FERC certified a historical generation baseline total of 38,712,000 kilowatt-hours for the project. It certified incremental generation from improvements of 13,690,000 kWh, an increase of 35.36 percent in generation.

29.08-MW Piney

For the third time, FERC certified incremental generation at the Piney project (No. 309) on the Clarion River in Clarion County, Pa.

Brookfield Power Piney & Deep Creek LLC sought a third certification of incremental generation at Piney associated with upgrade of the turbine for Unit 3. Brookfield said it replaced the Unit 3 runner with a new American Hydro runner.

In 2008, FERC certified increased capacity by replacing the Unit 1 runner and by updating a performance curve for Unit 2. It also made changes to project maximum daily headpond elevation limits. (HydroWorld 12/30/08) In 2006, FERC certified incremental generation associated with an upgrade of the turbine for Unit 2.

In a Nov. 18 order, FERC certified a historical generation baseline of 73,386,000 kWh. It certified incremental generation of 368,000 kWh, a 0.5 percent increase from improvements.

The Dells and Piney projects joins dozens of others for which FERC has certified incremental generation under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. (HydroWorld 8/27/09)

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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