New York DEP revises plans for Cannonsville Reservoir small hydro plant

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has revised its plans to build a hydroelectric plant at the Cannonsville Reservoir, with the generating capacity being revised downward to 6 MW.

The proposed $34 million hydro facility, on the West Branch of the Delaware River, will generate enough renewable electricity to power more than 3,500 homes, DEP says.

The proposal was revised after a 2015 engineering assessment at the site. Initial plans for a 14-MW facility were deemed infeasible, and DEP has been working to develop a revised plan for the site.

The dam was built to store 96 billion gallons of water and was the last of New York City’s 19 reservoirs to be built. It began operating in 1964.

The hydro plant will use water that is continuously released downstream of the Cannonsville Reservoir. DEP releases water downstream of its three reservoirs on the headwaters of the Delaware River according to provisions of a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decree and an interstate agreement called the Flexible Flow Management Program. The powerhouse will contain two 3-MW turbine-generator units in a 4,400-square-foot powerhouse.

Electricity produced will be delivered to the grid through a new substation constructed downstream from the dam.

“DEP is proud to announce a project that continues to expand the amount of clean energy produced by our vast water supply system,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “We hosted more than a dozen meetings and listened to more than a thousand people, and we engaged a team of expert engineers to develop plans for hydroelectric power generation at Cannonsville Reservoir.”

DEP has notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it will no longer pursue the original, larger project. The smaller plant may qualify for a license exemption from FERC because it is less than 10 MW.

DEP says it expects to complete the facility by 2025.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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