FERC relicenses expanded Vermont project, receives filing for eight-dam New York project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensed in October an expanded three-dam hydro project in Vermont and accepted a license application for a project to be built at eight dams on the New York canal system.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for October 2014, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, also featured licensing of a 76-kW hydro project in Connecticut.

22.807-MW Otter Creek

The commission issued a relicense to Green Mountain Power Corp. for the 22.807-MW Otter Creek hydro project, allowing the Vermont utility to expand the three-dam project from 14.349 MW. The Otter Creek project, on Otter Creek in Addison and Rutland counties, includes the 3-MW Proctor development, 5.849-MW Beldens development and 5.5-MW Huntington Falls development.

Green Mountain acquired the Otter Creek project (No. 2558) and 12 other projects upon its merger with Central Vermont Public Service Corp., which acquired it in 2010 from Vermont Marble Power, a division of Omya Inc., the original relicense applicant.

FERC’s relicense order granted Green Mountain permission to install a new turbine runner for Unit 1 and the install new Units 2-4 at the Proctor Development, increasing its installed capacity to 10.233 MW, and to install new Units 1 and 2 at the Huntington Falls development, increasing its installed capacity to 6.725 MW.

Other improvements and modifications include changing operation of Proctor from run-of-river year around to peaking mode at certain times of the year. The applicant also proposed environmental and aesthetic improvements.

FERC said the project originally cost $37.44 per MWh more to operate than alternative power. Green Mountain’s proposed changes would increase that cost to $49.63/MWh more than alternative power in its first year. As licensed, including FERC staff recommendations, the project would cost $49.69/MWh more than alternative power.

31.68-MW Middle Mohawk

FERC also received an application in October from Albany Engineering Corp. on behalf of Mohawk Hydro Corp. to license the 32-MW Middle Mohawk hydro project (No. 12636) at eight dams on the Mohawk River owned by New York State Canal Corp.

For several years, Albany Engineering has been studying the Middle Mohawk project, which would be built at 8- to 15-foot-tall dams that were built in 1915 to improve navigation on the Erie Canal. The “moveable dams” include steel lift gates that are raised out of the water during the winter months to allow ice passage.

The eight developments each would include two modular barges and powerhouses containing nine 220-kW turbine-generators each, making each development total 3.96 MW. Developments would be Lock E8 Scotia, Lock E9 Rotterdam Junction, Lock E10 Cranesville, Lock E11 Amsterdam, Lock E12 Tribes Hill, Lock E13 Randall, Lock E14 Canajoharie and Lock E15 Fort Plain.

The developments only would be operated during navigation season from May-November, with the barges removed during the off season.

76-kW Pomperaug

FERC also issued an original license in October to Andrew Peklo III for the proposed 76-kW Pomperaug project (No. 12790) on Pomperaug River in Woodbury, Conn. Peklo originally applied in 2011 for a (maximum) 5-MW small hydro exemption for the project.

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 October 2014 may be obtained from the FERC Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2014/oct-infrastructure.pdf.

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