Repairs to Wisconsin’s 5.4-MW Wausau hydropower plant on hold pending FERC approval

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Pending approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mean planned repairs at Wisconsin’s 5.4-MW Wausau hydropower plant could be delayed to next summer.

A drawdown of Lake Wausau was scheduled to begin September 12 at a rate of four inches per day until a total of five feet would have been removed by October 1. Repairs to Wausau Dam’s concrete infrastructure would have then been completed by November 15, at which point the lake would be refilled at the same four-inches per day rate.

Paper manufacturer Domtar, which owns the project, did not receive approval for the drawdown from FERC before the planned start date. And though FERC is scheduled to discuss the drawdown during a meeting later this month, a number of parties near the lake are pushing the agency to suspend the work until Summer 2017 so as not to interfere with the fall duck hunting season.

Domtar said the repair work is the result of years’ worth of weather damage, and that lowering Lake Wausau’s level is the easiest option for protecting worker safety while the repairs are being performed.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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