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Hydroelectric projects win LIHI certification

The Governing Board of the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has granted low-impact certification to hydroelectric projects in Vermont, Oregon, and New Hampshire.

During their November meeting, board members certified the 7.4-MW Winooski One run-of-river hydroelectric project on the Winooski River in Burlington, Vermont. The board also certified two small projects operated by the Farmers Irrigation District on tributaries of Oregon’s Hood River and the 840-KW Lower Robertson and 870-KW Ashuelot projects in New Hampshire.

LIHI said all of the projects “have avoided or reduced their environmental impacts pursuant to LIHI criteria.”

The Winooski project has a refurbished spillway with crest gates abutting a historic timber crib dam. The dam is on the National Register of Historic Places. What’s more, fish passage facilities and a riverside park and trail were built as part of the project.

LIHI said “Nearly every one of the federal, state, and local agency staff contacted in the course of this review commented that the applicant had demonstrated extraordinarily good corporate citizenship in carrying out and often exceeding the requirements associated with the project’s construction and operation.”

The two Hood River projects operated by the Farmers Irrigation District are run-of-river facilities. The water is diverted through self-cleaning, horizontal fish screens. The upper plant runs at reduced capacity if creek levels drop below a certain level. After Hood River was listed as a threat to salmon and steelhead, the district began working with state and federal agencies to improve operations and limit water temperature, LIHI said.

The Lower Robertson and Ashuelot hydroelectric projects are small, low head, run-of-river hydroelectric plants that were built in the 1980s. Both have exemptions requiring them to adhere to standards originally issued by New Hampshire Fish & Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife that instantaneous flows of 203 cubic feet per second be passed at all times.

The board unanimously approved the certification of each project.

Brookfield Renewable Power is seeking recertification from LIHI for five hydroelectric projects totaling 187.2 MW in New York. (HydroWorld 7/22/09)


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