New England developer pursues Louisiana hydrokinetic projects

Free Flow Power Corp. of Manchester, Mass., has filed preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study developing in-stream kinetic hydropower projects at 28 sites on the Mississippi River.

Free Flow said it plans to collect data and determine the feasibility of the 28 projects, all in Louisiana. Upon completion of technical, environmental, and financial analyses, Free Flow said it plans to apply for licenses to develop and operate the projects.

�We plan to take advantage of economies of scale and scope across multiple projects to maximize each project’s potential generation output in the shortest time possible,� Free Flow Chief Executive Officer Daniel Irvin said in a letter to FERC.

So far, FERC has issued formal notices of the preliminary permit applications for five of the projects: 46-MW General Hampton (No. 12869); 45-MW Kenner Bend (No. 12855); 22-MW Point Pleasant (No. 12844); 24-MW Thirty-five Mile Point (No. 12845); and 100-MW Twelve Mile Point (No. 12862).

Free Flow filed 28 applications for preliminary permits on July 20. On July 24, separate limited liability corporations for which Free Flow is a managing partner filed 28 new applications to replace those originally filed by the parent firm. On Aug. 27, Free Flow withdrew all but five of the original applications.

Five of the original applications were retained because another company, Hydro Green Energy, also filed preliminary permit applications July 24 that overlapped sites of the five Free Flow applications. Irvin said the original applications were retained because, when faced with substantially equal competing permit applications, FERC gives preference to those filed first.

In June, FERC granted Hydro Green Energy preliminary permits to study four projects in Mississippi that would generate more than 96 MW from conventional and hydrokinetic technologies. (HNN 6/13/07)

Free Flow’s Internet site, www.free-flow-power.com, says its projects are to include numerous turbine arrays connected to common shore power interconnect stations. It said individual turbines can be placed in various combinations to suit each particular installation. The turbines can operate at flows of three feet per second and greater.

In addition to developing projects, Free Flow said it plans to sell turbine-generators to other owners and developers of free flow hydrokinetic projects.

Free Flow’s technology features an open-center unit, low rotation speeds, and no exposed blade tips, to minimize disruption to marine life, the company said. Using existing infrastructure such as bridge abutments and by relying on a single piling to mount multiple turbine generators, the company plans to minimize disruption to riverbeds.

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