FERC licenses hydro projects in Colorado, South Carolina

During the month of July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an original license to a small project in Colorado and relicensed another small project in South Carolina for a total increase in installed capacity of 1.12 MW.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for July 2011, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, said FERC issued an original license in July to the City of Ouray, Colo., for the proposed 20-kW Ouray Water Supply Small Conduit project (No. 13797) near Ouray. The project is to generate 150 MWh annually from a Pelton turbine-generator installed on an existing mile-long 6-inch pipeline and a new 300-foot-long 6-inch pipeline that convey excess water from Weehawken Spring.

FERC also issued a relicense to Lockhart Power for the 1.9-MW Pacolet project (No. 2621) on the Pacolet River in Spartanburg County, S.C. The license authorizes additional generation at Pacolet, increasing its installed capacity by 1.1 MW from 800 kW.

The commission also approved a capacity amendment for one project representing an increase of 7.867 MW, the infrastructure update said.

Also during July, FERC received a license application from Red River Hydro LLC, a subsidiary of Symbiotics LLC, for the 78-MW Overton Lock and Dam project (No. 13160). Located on the Red River in Rapides Parish, La., the project would utilize the existing John H. Overton Lock and Dam operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

‘Non-capacity’ amendment would boost effective capacity 31.5 MW

The commission also received a “non-capacity” amendment application from Seattle City Light that, in actuality, would increase the effective capacity of the 689.4-MW Skagit River project (No. 553) on the Skagit River in Washington.

Seattle City Light seeks an amendment allowing it to construct a second tunnel between Gorge Dam and Gorge powerhouse. The Gorge development, one of three in the Skagit River project, has FERC-licensed installed capacity of 207.5 MW, but in reality has operational capacity of only 176 MW due to head loss through the existing power tunnel.

The utility proposes boring a second tunnel through rock between Gorge Dam and the powerhouse, dividing the flow and reducing frictional head loss, raising the head pressure of the turbines, increasing torque on the generators, and producing more power from any given flow, for a total of 56,000 MWh annually.

Also during July, the commission received applications for conduit exemptions from two applicants:
o Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 85-kW Oak Springs (No. 14235) at Oak Springs Fish Hatchery, Wasco County, Ore.; and
o George Wenschhof, 23-kW Meeker Wenschhof project (No. 14230) in Colorado, filed pursuant to FERC’s memorandum of understanding with the state of Colorado, which has developed a pilot program to advance FERC exemptions for small hydro projects in the state.

FERC also reported three hydro projects began commercial operation in July.

The report said Turnbull Hydro LLC brought the 5.3-MW Upper Turnbull project (No. 12598) on line during July in Teton County, Mont. Construction of the project was completed in one year on the Spring Valley Canal. In the previous month’s infrastructure update for June, FERC reported that Turnbull Hydro brought on line the 7.7-MW Lower Turnbull project (No. 12597), which it had incorrectly labeled Upper Turnbull.

The other two projects coming on line in July were:
o 310-kW Humphreys (No. 13871) by Wagon Wheel Associates in Colorado; and
o 25-kW Rice Reservoir (No. 13635) by City of Gloversville, N.Y. on Dixon-Rice Reservoir Conduit in Fulton 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 July 2011 may be obtained from the FERC Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/08-25-11-energy-infrastructure.pdf.

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