FERC releases new Chapter 12 guidance on water conveyance for hydropower projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the U.S. has finalized its new Chapter 12 — Water Conveyance of its Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects.

The purpose of this chapter is “to provide guidance for the inspection, monitoring, and evaluation of the safety of water conveyance structures at hydropower projects.” It is not intended to provide guidance on the design and analysis of water conveyance structures.

The new chapter covers a variety of conveyance types: penstocks, power canals, flumes and tunnels.

Areas addressed are:

  • Typical features
  • Failure modes and defensive measures
  • Recommended surveillance (including inspection and instrumentation)

In total, the Engineering Guidelines document contains 14 chapters. They were prepared by the Office of Energy Projects “to provide guidance to the technical Staff in the processing of applications for license and in the evaluation of dams under Part 12 of the Commission’s regulations.” Although they are primarily intended for FERC staff, the guidelines “also provide licensees, exemptees, and applicants with general guidance that should be considered when presenting any studies presented to the Commission under Parts 4 and 12 of the Regulations (18 CFR, Parts 4 and 12).”

Other recently modified/updated chapters of the guidelines are Chapter 13 — Evaluation of Earthquake Ground Motions, which was completed in May 2018, and Chapter 11 — Arch Dams, which was completed in March 2018.

In other FERC news, in July we reported Commissioner Robert F. Powelson was resigning to become head of the National Association of Water Companies. He completed a podcast, released August 8, on his time with FERC. This leaves FERC with four commissioners, still enough for a quorum. It is not clear when U.S. President Donald Trump might recommend a successor for Powelson.



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