The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a 30-year relicense to Alabama Power Co. for continued operation of the 211.485-MW Warrior River hydroelectric project in Alabama.
Alabama Power filed in 2005 to renew the original license (No. 2165) of the two-development project on the Black Warrior and Sipsey Fork rivers. The project has operated under temporary annual licenses since the original expired in 2007.
The project includes the 157.5-MW Lewis Smith development on Sipsey Fork and the 53.985-MW John Hollis Bankhead development on the Corps of Engineers’ Bankhead Lock and Dam 17 on the Black Warrior. (Hydro Review, March 2008)
Alabama Power proposed no new generating capacity with plans to continue operating the project as a peaking facility and to implement measures to address environmental effects. The utility proposed developing a drought management plan, installing minimum flow valves, increasing lake levels for black bass spawning, constructing an aeration system at Smith, and implementing measures to enhance and monitor dissolved oxygen.
In a March 31 order, FERC estimated continued operation of Warrior River with added resource agency mandatory conditions and FERC staff recommendations would result in an annual cost of $8.3 million, or $19 per megawatt-hour. FERC said estimated annual generation of 427,335 MWh at an alternative power cost of $120/MWh results in an estimated total annual value of $51.2 million. Based on those figures, the commission said Warrior River would have a net annual benefit of $42.9 million.
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