FERC upholds relicensing of 108.6-MW Yadkin-Pee Dee hydro project

In a rehearing order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has upheld the relicensing of the two-development 108.6-MW Yadkin-Pee Dee hydroelectric project on the Yadkin and Pee Dee rivers in North Carolina.

FERC staff issued an environmental impact statement in 2008 supporting the relicensing by Progress Energy Carolina (now Duke Energy) of Yadkin-Pee Dee (No. 2206). The project includes the 84-MW Tillery development on the Yadkin River and the 24.6-MW Blewett Falls development on the Pee Dee River.

FERC issued a license order for the project in April, requiring mitigation to address environmental issues including minimum flows for recreation and support of aquatic life, dissolved oxygen downstream, adequacy of recreation access, and passage for American shad and American eel.

In an Oct. 15 relicensing order, the commission granted a request by Duke to revise the license to account for a revised biological opinion by the National Marine Fisheries Service. However, FERC rejected the licensee’s request to extend the new license to 50 years from the license’s 40-year term.

FERC also denied rehearing requests by American Rivers and the city of Rockingham, N.C., that raised numerous arguments regarding alleged procedural deficiencies and alleged violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Progress Energy, formerly Carolina Power & Light, filed a relicense application in 2006 and a settlement agreement in July 2007. The project operation is coordinated with flow releases from Alcoa Power Generating Inc.’s 209-MW Yadkin Project (No. 2197), whose four developments are upstream.

The relicense order may be obtained from FERC’s Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2015/101515/H-4.pdf.

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