FERC issues relicense for 82.3-MW Toledo Bend hydro project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has relicensed the Toledo Bend hydroelectric project on the Sabine River including a new 1.3-MW minimum flow unit for total installed capacity of 82.3 MW.

FERC staff issued a final environmental impact statement in January recommending the relicensing of the project on the Texas and Louisiana border. The Sabine River Authority of Texas and the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana, are joint licensees for the Toledo Bend project (No. 2305).

The authorities, which filed to relicense the water and power project in 2011, proposed to implement provisions of settlement agreements with the U.S. Forest Service on recreation, shoreline erosion, and invasive species and with other stakeholders on aquatic issues. They also proposed to construct a 1.3-MW horizontal Francis minimum flow turbine-generator in a second powerhouse downstream of the spillway.

FERC relicensed the project Aug. 29 with terms based on the authorities’ application, plus terms of the settlement agreements and additional mandatory conditions and FERC staff modifications.

If the project were relicensed with no changes, project power would cost about $20.90 per MWh less than the cost of alternative power. Under the Sabine River authorities’ proposal, power would cost $2.93/MWh less than alternative power. Under the FERC staff-endorsed alternative, power would cost $2.63/MWh less than alternative power.

In 2013, a federal appeals court rejected an appeal by 28 property owners who complained of property damage caused by flood gate releases from Toledo Bend Dam in 2009. The licensees also were among hydro operators winning a FERC ruling that year that stopped FERC collecting federal land use fees for hydro project land the federal government no longer owns.

The final EIS may be obtained from the FERC Internet site, www.ferc.gov, under http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/gen-info/licensing/p-2305.pdf.

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