Alabama Power has received a new 30-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission operating license for its Martin Dam, including approval to raise the winter level at the lake by 3 feet.
The new license also allows the company to extend the summer water level at the lake into the fall if there is sufficient water available. And the company plans several recreational enhancements around the lake as part of the new license, according to a press release.
“Raising the winter lake level and having the opportunity to extend the summer pool, when there is sufficient rainfall, will greatly enhance the recreational opportunities and aesthetics of Lake Martin for both residents and visitors,” says Matt Bowden, Alabama Power vice president of environmental affairs.
The company has been working with stakeholders, local leaders and multiple public agencies since 2006 on relicensing the 182.5-MW Lake Martin hydroelectric project (No. 349). The company filed the application in 2011.
Alabama Power’s acceptance of the license is effective Jan. 20, 2016, at which time the company will be required to begin implementing the new operating plan.
Martin Dam is on the Tallapoosa River in Alabama. Recreational and environmental enhancements are expected to include the protection of additional undeveloped lands around the lake and improvements at shoreline recreational areas.
HydroWorld.com reported in May 2015 that FERC staff issued a final environmental impact statement recommending relicensing the project.