Hydro Currents

Obama, EPA release revised Clean Power Plan

U.S. President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency have unveiled a sweeping program to reduce carbon emissions in the country by more than 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.

The program, called the Clean Power Plan, sets emissions reduction goals for fossil-fueled generating plants and will require individual states to establish plans to reduce their own emissions by September 2016. States will then have until 2022 to comply.

EPA said the plan is a necessary response to alarming trends regarding global climate change, with 14 of the 15 warmest years on record having occurred since 2000.

Exactly how much emphasis the Clean Power Plan puts on individual forms of energy generation is overall ambiguous, although the 1,560-page document seems to favor wind and solar. Language included in the plan does define conventional hydroelectric, wave and tidal power as “renewable energy resources.”

The plan is a revised version of one released in 2014. States are given an option to choose between two plans: Emissions Standards Plan or State Measures Plan. However, shortly after the plan was released, 16 states requested an “immediate stay” on the program, saying it “unlawfully exploits Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.” States signing the 14-page grievance are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin an Wyoming.

Hydropower represented well in bipartisan Senate bill

Bipartisan energy legislation submitted to the U.S. Senate July 22 includes a section that defines hydroelectric power as a renewable, while also improving on existing hydropower regulation. The http://www.hydro.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Energy-Policy-Modernization-Act-of-2015-Bill-Text.pdf Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

For conventional hydropower, some provisions are:

— Designates the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the lead agency to set a binding schedule and coordinate federal authorizations in order to address permitting backlogs;

— Sets forth a Sense of Congress that hydropower is a renewable resource for purposes of all federal programs;

— Amends the federal purchasing requirement in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) to include all forms of hydro and raises the requirement for renewable energy from 7.5% to 15%;

— Extends preliminary permit terms to four years and lengthens the subsequent potential FERC extension to four years; and

— Directs FERC to compile and make public a comprehensive collection of studies and data; use existing studies in individual licensing proceedings; and ensure studies required for federal authorizations are not duplicated.

The act would a;sp extend the incentives for hydroelectric production and efficiency improvements through Fiscal Year 2025.

Further stipulations increase support for ocean, tidal and wave energy by amending EPAct and the http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/hr/print/volume-30/issue-3/articles/ocean-tidal-stream-power-identifying-how-marine-and-hydrokinetic-devices-affect-aquatic-environments.html Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) to authorize the National Marine Renewable Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Centers to participate in demonstration projects, support in-water testing, support arrays of technology and serve as information clearinghouses. The bill increases EISA appropriations for MHK research from $50 million for each fiscal year from 2008 through 2012 to $55 million for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and $60 million for 2019 through 2021.

Reclamation releases reports on Shasta Dam raise

The future of a proposal to raise California’s Shasta Dam by as much as 18.5 feet is once again in question, following the release of two reports by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation in late July.

Reclamation’s final feasibility report and final environmental impact statement describe the technical, environmental, economic and financial evaluations used in determining a course of action. The reports also include proposals for identifying cost-sharing partners and project financing, should the project ultimately move forward.

However, the final feasibility report, which examines raises of six height increments, notes that the proposals’ price tags of $990 million to $1.28 billion remove the potential for full federal funding due to “unrealistic” expectations that the costs could be repaid through water and hydroelectric power sales in the 40- to 50-year time frame usually given for such infrastructure projects.

Project financing would likely then fall to a combination of agricultural, municipal and industrial partners who would benefit from the increased storage capacity in Shasta Lake, although the long-time proposal has seen opposition from those whose residential and commercial properties might have to be relocated to accommodate higher water levels.

The 602-foot-high structure was completed in 1945 and is home to the 633-MW Shasta hydroelectric plant.

Hydro Ottawa acquires 10 projects from Fortis

The acquisition of 10 run-of-river projects by Hydro Ottawa from Fortis Inc. adds about 31 MW of capacity to the Canadian utility’s fleet. The plants, spread across Ontario in Canada and New York in the U.S., will help Hydro Ottawa meet its four-year strategic goal of increasing its renewable offerings to account for about 25% of its overall energy mix.

“We want to increase renewable generation capacity and provide earnings that benefit our shareholder, the City of Ottawa, in an environmentally responsible way,” President and Chief Executive Officer Bryce Conrad said. “After significant due diligence, risk evaluation and a thorough technical assessment of all assets, we concluded that this was an excellent business opportunity that wisely builds upon our existing generation assets portfolio.”

Hydro Ottawa said the New York assets have a combined capacity of 22.6 MW and Ontario assets combine for 8.3 MW.

The value of the deal — executed by Hydro Ottawa subsidiary Energy Ottawa — was not disclosed.

Spending thaw to resume FERC licensing studies for 600-MW Susitna-Watana

A thaw in the spending freeze on the 600-MW Susitna-Watana project will allow Federal Energy Regulatory Commission pre-licensing studies to resume.

Gov. Bill Walker issued an administrative order in December 2014 directing state agencies to stop non-obligated spending on six major projects due to a growing budget deficit related to falling oil prices. In response, AEA hydro project manager Wayne Dyok wrote FERC asking that the integrated licensing process for the project be suspended for 60 days. FERC granted http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2015/01/ferc-delays-600-mw-susitna-watana-hydro-licensing-due-to-alaska-spending-freeze.html the request in January and extended the delay again March 17 and May 13.

Dyok wrote the commission again July 2, saying that since AEA’s last report the Alaska Legislature elected not to reappropriate unspent and uncommitted funds previously appropriated to the project. “The governor signed appropriations bills on June 30, 2015, and AEA is awaiting further direction from the governor’s office,” Dyok wrote. That direction came days later when news reports said a memorandum from the state Office of Management and Budget allowed spending to resume on Susitna-Watana. The memo allows AEA to spend $6.6 million previously appropriated by the Legislature.

AEA spokeswoman Emily Ford said the goal is to finish studies that are near completion and put collected data into a usable format. Once that work is carried out to the limit of funding, the Legislature and governor are to determine whether additional funds will be allotted to the estimated $5.5 billion project.

HydroVision International 2015 sets new record

HydroVision International 2015 in Portland, Ore., was its largest ever with more than 3,760 attendees representing 60 countries. This year’s attendance breaks the previous mark of more than 3,400, set at HydroVision International 2011 in Sacramento, Calif.

HydroVision International 2015 began with a keynote session that featured officials from host utilities Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy, http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2015/07/u-s-department-of-commerce-official-chandra-brown-joins-hydrovision-keynote-lineup.html U.S. Department of Commerce and hydro industry associations.

“We are particularly proud to have HydroVision International here in Oregon,” said Maria Pope, senior vice president of power supply and operation for Portland General Electric. “The region’s rich resources have left us with a legacy of low-cost, reliable energy.”

Pope’s sentiments were shared by Pacific Power President and Chief Executive Officer Stefan Bird. “Hydro helps us achieve our public policy goals,” Bird said. “It helps us keep the lights on and allows for additional renewables.”

The keynote session also provided an update on DOE’s http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/04/doe-unveils-ambitious-plan-for-long-term-hydroelectric-power-development.html Hydropower Vision” initiative, as well as an overview of international opportunities for American manufacturers.

Leaders from industry associations were included http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2015/07/industry-leaders-urge-hydroelectric-power-advocacy-in-new-film.html via a short documentary. Featured were International Hydropower Association President Ken Adams, National Hydropower Association Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci, Canadian Hydropower Association President Jacob Irving and Northwest Hydroelectric Association Executive Director Jan Lee. View the video at www.hydroevent.com/hydro-tv.html.

FERC license received for 5.25-MW Braddock Locks and Dam hydro project

Hydro Green Energy LLC announced it received its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the 5.25-MW Braddock Locks and Dam project in Allegheny County, Pa.

Hydro Energy subsidiary Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund XLII LLC http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2012/10/ferc-oks-expansion-of-two-maine-projects-licenses-4-mw-broken-bow.html filed an application for an original license for the project in 2012. The project is to be built at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Braddock Locks and Dam, one of nine Corps navigation structures on the Monongahela River.

The 50-year license authorizes installation of seven 750-kW low-head horizontal modular bulb turbine-generators in a large frame on the upstream face of the project’s left weir. The frame is to contain all generating and control systems and can be removed during maintenance or high water.

As proposed by the applicant, the levelized annual cost of operating the project would be $57.96 per MWh, or $21.05/MWh more than the cost of alternative power. With FERC staff mitigation and resource agency mandatory conditions, the annual operating cost would be $58.12/MWh or $21.21/MWh more than alternative power.

Eagle Crest buys site for pumped-storage project

Eagle Mountain LLC has agreed to buy the Kaiser Eagle Mountain mine near Desert Center, Calif., from CIL&D.

Eagle Crest Energy plans to transform the site into a pumped-storage station that can bank energy from solar, wind and geothermal plants for release during peak demand and to maintain grid stability. The proposal calls for converting two of the mine’s vacant pits into reservoirs and providing a capacity of up to 1,300 MW.

The proposal was http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/07/ferc-1-300-mw-licensing-in-june-is-year-s-largest-capacity-increase.html licensed in 2014 after environmental reviews by state and federal energy and wildlife agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and California State Water Resources Control Board.

The sale agreement between Eagle Mountain and CIL&D covers about 9,500 acres of land and mining claims. Of that, roughly 2,500 acres would be occupied by the energy storage facility. CIL&D, through a subsidiary, will retain the railroad and the right to sell iron ore tailings and rock from the property.

Water will be supplied by groundwater wells. Power will be transmitted to Southern California Edison’s Red Bluff substation via a 16.4-mile-long, double circuit 500-kV primary transmission line.

Editor’s Note: This content was originally featured on GenerationHub.com, a sister site of HydroWorld.com.

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