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New trash rake prompts tax credit for Indiana's 81-MW Markland

Installation of an automatic trash rake system at the 81-MW Markland hydro project is to reduce head losses and increase generation enough to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to certify the incremental generation as eligible for renewable energy production tax credits.

Licensee PSI Energy, doing business as Duke Energy Indiana, said it plans to increase generation by 7.8 percent from efficiency improvements due to upgrading a trash rake to an automatic trash rake and removal system. The new system is expected to improve efficiency by reducing trash- and debris-induced head losses.

The scheduled in-service date for the new trash rake and removal system is July 1, 2008.

FERC issued its order July 20, certifying incremental generation totaling 29.7 million kWh, based on a generation baseline of 380.6 million kWh and generation with improvements of 410.3 million kWh. Duke Energy calculated the anticipated improvement in efficiency from recorded trash-induced head loss measurements over a six-month period compared to head losses that could be expected with a clean trash rack.

Markland (No. 2211), on the Ohio River in Indiana, is one of several hydro projects whose incremental generation has been certified for the production tax credit. The most recent project was Duke Energy Carolinas LLC's 18-MW Ninety-nine Islands in South Carolina, at which the licensee increased efficiency by upgrading turbine-generators. (HNN 6/5/07)

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 applies the tax credit to incremental production from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydroelectric facilities placed into service after Aug. 8, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2009. The section requires FERC to certify historic average annual hydropower production and percentage of average annual hydropower production at a facility attributable to the efficiency improvements or additions to capacity.

The House has passed legislation that would extend the renewables production tax credit for four years. When Congress returns from its August recess, a conference committee will meet to reconcile House energy legislation with the Senate's version, which is markedly different. (HNN 8/6/07)

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