Low Impact hydro group certifies 86-MW Nebraska project

The Low Impact Hydropower Institute’s governing board has certified the 86.342-MW Kingsley Dam project in south-central Nebraska as �low-impact� hydropower.

Kingsley Dam (No. 1417) features four powerhouses, dams, reservoirs, and canals on the North Platte and Platte rivers. Hydro plants include 33-MW Kingsley, 16.812-MW Jeffery, 17.29-MW Johnson No. 1, and 19.24-MW Johnson No. 2.

Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District owns the project, which includes three-mile-long Kingsley Dam, on the North Platte River. The Kingsley hydro plant abuts the dam, which impounds Lake McConaughy, and discharges into Lake Ogallala. Central Diversion Dam, 50 miles downstream of Kinglsey Dam at the confluence of the North Platte and South Platte rivers, diverts Platte River flow into the 75-mile-long Supply Canal, which incorporates 27 dams and the three other powerhouses.

The LIHI governing board announced certification Dec. 18, recognizing the project meets the organization’s �low-impact� criteria for river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation, and whether the dam has been recommended for removal.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensed Kingsley in 1998, completing 14 years of work to develop an integrated approach to managing the Platte River Basin, which includes habitat of the endangered whooping crane, interior least tern, piping plover, bald eagle, and pallid sturgeon.

The voluntary LIHI program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low-impact hydropower facilities for emerging �green� energy markets. Certification is valid for five years and will expire on May 22, 2013. During that period, the owner can market the project as a certified low-impact hydro facility. Certification also means power generated by the project could be eligible for other green power programs.

Since 2001, the non-profit organization has certified or recertified more than three dozen projects it says demonstrate minimal effects on fish and wildlife.

LIHI seeks comments on multiple project applications

Several applications are pending for certification, including those for the city of Hamilton, Ohio’s 70.56-MW Greenup and Brookfield Renewable Power’s Twin Cities projects. (HNN 12/9/08) New applications include those filed by Brookfield for the two-powerhouse 39.35-MW Rumford Falls project (No. 2333), on the Androscoggin River in Maine, (HNN 7/8/08) and TransCanada Hydro Northeast Inc.’s 32.4-MW Vernon (No. 1904) (HNN 12/30/08) and 278.26-MW Fifteen Mile Falls (No. 2077) projects on the Connecticut River in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Public comments on the applications for Rumford Falls, Vernon, and Fifteen Mile Falls are due Feb. 10. The applications are posted on LIHI’s website, www.lowimpacthydro.org. The comment period for the Greenup project is closed. Comments for the Twin Cities project in Minnesota are due Jan. 30.

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