FERC licenses three hydro projects, reports 62-MW Rainbow expansion on line

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued two original hydropower licenses, relicensed a third project, and reported the 62-MW Rainbow expansion hydro plant went on line in Montana during April.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for April, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, also included receiving three license applications and issuing a license amendment allowing construction of a new hydro powerhouse in New York.

The commission issued hydropower licenses to two small project applicants:

FERC also relicensed the 112-year-old Stuyvesant Falls hydroelectric project (No. 2696) on New York’s Kinderhook Creek. The relicense authorizes applicants Stuyvesant, N.Y., and Albany Engineering Corp. to increase total project capacity to 4.32 MW from 2.8 MW in an eight-year rehabilitation program.

PPL Montana brings 62-MW Rainbow expansion plant on line

FERC also reported that licensee PPL Montana brought the 62-MW Rainbow hydroelectric plant expansion on line during April on the Missouri River in Montana.

The Rainbow expansion project includes a new powerhouse that replaces the original 35-MW Rainbow plant, a development of the eight-powerhouse, 334.29-MW Missouri-Madison project (No. 2188) The 3.5-year construction project cost $209 million.

The commission also issued an order amending the license of the 10-MW Rio project (No. 9690) on New York’s Mongaup River. The amendment allows licensee Eagle Creek Hydropower LLC to construct a new powerhouse with a single turbine-generator, increasing the total project installed capacity to 10.8 MW. Rio is one of two New York projects Eagle Creek acquired in 2011 from Alliance Energy Renewables LLC.

FERC reported it also received three applications for licenses during April:

  • Warmsprings Irrigation District, 2.7-MW Warmsprings Dam project (No. 13570) to be built at Warm Springs Dam, part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Vale Project on the Malheur River in Oregon;
  • Baker County, Ore., 3.4-MW Mason Dam project (No. 12686) to be built at Mason Dam, part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Baker Project on the Powder River in Oregon; and
  • Tygart LLC, 30-MW Tygart project (No. 12613) to be built on the Tygart River in West Virginia. Grafton, W.Va., previously held a license for a 20-MW Tygart Dam project (No. 7307) that was terminated by FERC in 2000 after the licensee failed to begin construction for 11 years.

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 April 2013 may be obtained from the FERC Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2013/apr-energy-infrastructure.pdf.

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