FERC refuses to renew permits for seven Hydro Green projects totaling 140.5 MW

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has denied a request by subsidiaries of Hydro Green Energy LLC to issue successive preliminary permits for seven proposed hydroelectric projects in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama totaling 140.5 MW.

Hydro Green received a FERC license in June for the 5.25-MW Braddock Locks and Dam hydroelectric project (No. 13739) in Allegheny County, Pa.

Faced with the expiration of initial three-year preliminary permits for seven projects, Hydro Green filed applications in March for successive permits on behalf of subsidiaries using variants of the name Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund. A preliminary permit reserves the applicant’s priority to develop the site while studying its feasibility and preparing a license application.

Projects include:

  • 28-MW Joe Hardin L&D project (No. 14137) at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Joe Hardin Lock and Dam 3 on the Arkansas River in Arkansas;
  • 10-MW Aberdeen L&D project (No. 14138) at the Corps’ Aberdeen Lock and Dam on the Tombigbee River in Mississippi;
  • 22.5-MW T.S. Ferry L&D project (No. 14178) at the Corps’ Toad Suck Ferry Lock and Dam on the Kentucky River in Arkansas;
  • 25-MW Emmett Sanders L&D project (No. 14179) at the Corps’ Emmett Sanders Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River in Arkansas;
  • 20-MW David D. Terry L&D project (No. 14180) at the Corps’ David D. Terry Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River in Arkansas;
  • 15-MW Howard Heflin L&D project (No. 14181) at the Corps’ Howard Heflin Lock and Dam on the Tombigbee River in Alabama; and
  • 20-MW Arkansas River L&D project (No. 14184) at the Corps’ Arkansas River Lock and Dam 5 on the Arkansas River in Arkansas.

FERC’s Sept. 8 order noted that its policy is to grant a successive permit only if it concludes that the applicant has pursued the requirements of its prior permit in good faith and with due diligence. It said that requires completion of certain steps toward preparing a license application including developing study plans, conducting studies, consulting with resource agencies and developing the application.

“In addition, commission staff must be able to discern a pattern of progress toward the preparation of a development application from the content of the permittee’s filings,” FERC said. “…The record under the prior permit shows that HGE did not pursue the requirements of its prior permit in good faith and with due diligence, because it failed to demonstrate progress toward preparing a development application. Therefore, HGE’s applications for successive preliminary permits are denied.”

Hydro Green had filed an additional letter requesting special consideration for successive permits for the five Arkansas projects, saying the Corps had not supplied needed information. However, FERC said the applicant had only filed one-paragraph semi-annual progress reports for each project that failed to describe progress for any of the projects.

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