Idaho co-op seeks “low-impact” hydro recertification

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute is considering applications from Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative to recertify the 4.8-MW Island Park project and to certify the 250-kW Buffalo River project as “low-impact” hydropower.

LIHI said it would consider comments from the public on both applications through June 17.

Island Park (No. 2973) is on Henrys Fork, a tributary of the Snake River in Idaho, upstream of its confluence with the Buffalo River. LIHI certified Island Park in 2001, but later suspended certification due to the applicant’s inability to meet flow requirements due to drought. Although LIHI reinstated certification in March 2005, it expires June 7. The 250-kW Buffalo River project (No. 1413) is on the Buffalo River in Fremont County, Idaho.

The applications are on LIHI’s Internet site at www.lowimpacthydro.org. Comments can be submitted by e-mail to info@lowimpacthydro.org, with “Island Park/Buffalo River Hydroelectric Projects” in the subject line, by fax to (1) 206-984-3086, and by mail to LIHI, 34 Providence St., Portland, ME 04103.

LIHI said applications for certification also are pending for the 4.5-MW Black Bear Lake (No. 10440) and 2-MW South Fork hydroelectric projects, both on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska; the 943-kW Skagway-Dewey Lakes project (No. 1051) at Skagway, Alaska; and the 6.8-MW West Branch St. Regis project (No. 10461), on the West Branch Regis River in New York.

To become certified, an applicant must demonstrate its projects meet criteria addressing: river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed protection, threatened and endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether the dam has been recommended for removal.

Low-impact certification renewed for Colorado project

The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District’s 800-kW Stagecoach project is the first project to be recertified by LIHI.

Stagecoach, (No. 9202) on the Yampa River in Colorado, originally was certified by LIHI in 2001. The five-year certification expired in March. The new certification also covers five years.

New York project wins eight-year certification

Brookfield Power’s 36.25-MW Salmon River project in upstate New York is the most recent project to earn LIHI certification. It also is the first in New York granted an eight-year certification, versus the typical five-year term.

Salmon River (No. 11408) consists of two powerhouses — Bennetts Bridge and Lighthouse Hill — in the towns of Redfield and Orwell near Lake Ontario. Brookfield Power said the installed capacity is almost 30 MW at Bennetts Bridge and 7.5 MW at Lighthouse Hill. Brookfield’s Erie Boulevard Hydropower L.P. is the licensee.

LIHI Executive Director Fred Ayer recommended certification be extended by three years — for a total of eight years — based on its consistency with LIHI’s watershed protection criteria. In this case, Brookfield Power designated a buffer zone for conservation purposes, and finances a fund for environmental and recreational projects within the Salmon River corridor.

Once certified, an owner or operator can market power from the facility to consumers as produced by a certified low-impact hydropower facility. LIHI said certification also might quality the power produced for other “green” energy certification programs, such as the Green-E Renewable Electricity Program or Renew 2000. Since the program began in 1999, LIHI has certified nearly 24 projects, many with multiple powerhouses.

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