WASHINGTON 3/30/12 (PennWell) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a hydrokinetic pilot project license to the 300-kW Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy project in Maine as part of its hydropower regulatory activity in February.
The Energy Infrastructure Update for February 2012, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, showed the agency also issued an exemption from licensing for a small hydro project and received applications to license a 14.08-MW project in New York, to exempt a conduit project in Oregon, and to increase capacity of a small project in New York.
Cobscook Bay Tidal to install units off Maine coast
FERC issued its second hydrokinetic pilot project license for a tidal energy project, Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy (No. 12711), in Cobscook Bay off Eastport, Maine. It issued its first hydrokinetic pilot license in January for a tidal project, the 1.05-MW Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project (No. 12611) in New York.
ORPC Maine, an Ocean Renewable Power Co. LLC subsidiary, is developing Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy. The company has been engineering and field testing its turbines in waters off Eastport since 2004. It plans to install five units on the ocean floor in a 61-acre area between Goose Island and Grove Point.
The commission also issued a 5-MW (maximum) exemption from licensing to Crane & Co. for the 250-kW Byron Weston project (No. 135830). Crane & Co. plans to build the project at an existing dam on the East Branch of the Housatonic River in Dalton, Berkshire County, Mass.
New York City files to license 14.08-MW Cannonsville
FERC received a hydro license application in February from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for the 14.08-MW Cannonsville project (No. 13287), which would be built on an existing city water supply dam on the West Branch of the Delaware River in Delaware County, N.Y.
In 2009, FERC issued a preliminary permit to New York for the proposed 29.75-MW West of Hudson project (the original No. 13287), which included the proposed 12.1-MW Cannonsville, 1.65-MW Neversink, 3.1-MW Pepacton, and 12.9-MW Schoharie developments, all on existing water supply reservoirs in Upstate New York. The city, which uses water from the reservoirs, had filed the permit application to compete with one filed earlier by Delaware County Electric Cooperative for the 63-MW Catskills Hydro project (No. 13222), which would have utilized the reservoirs.
In its license application for Cannonsville, the city said it now seeks a stand-alone license for the single development. It also filed a successive preliminary permit application for a new 2.6-MW West of Hudson project (No. 14366) comprising 900-kW Neversink and 1.7-MW Pepacton developments.
In its permit application, New York said it found that Cannonsville could be connected to the transmission system of New State Electric & Gas Corp. However, Neversink and Pepacton would have to be connected to NYSEG’s nearby distribution system. New York said NYSEG found Neversink would exceed NYSEG’s distribution circuits’ capacity, while Pepacton would exceed NYSEG’s operating criteria.
Because of delays in determining the scope of necessary distribution system upgrades, New York decided to proceed with Cannonsville separately. The city also said it has not identified a feasible design for a hydro plant at the Schoharie development and, therefore, deleted it from the application.
Oregon irrigation district applies for 700-kW Three Sisters project
FERC also received an application from Three Sisters Irrigation District for a conduit exemption for the 700-kW Three Sisters Irrigation project (No. 14364). Located on the Three Sisters Irrigation District Main Canal at Whychus Creek in Deschutes County, Ore., the project would generate 3,400 MWh annually.
FERC rejected a preliminary permit in 2011 for the Three Sisters site from hydrokinetic project developer Pacific Rim Energy Inc. Pacific Rim had filed applications for preliminary permits to study development of 53 hydrokinetic projects totaling up to 507.6 MW on irrigation systems in four states. An application for a Three Sisters Irrigation District Kinetic Energy project of 750 kW to 1.2 MW (No. 13933) was rejected for failure to respond to information requests.
Also in February, FERC received an application from Hydro Development Group Inc. for an amendment to increase as-built capacity of the 1.49-MW Hailesboro No. 4 project by 410 kW. If approved, the total capacity would increase to 1.9 MW at Hailesboro (No. 6058), on the Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County, N.Y.
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 February 2012 may be obtained from the FERC Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/feb-2012-energy-infrastructure.pdf.