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Hydro Green Energy secures new funding, appoints new CEO

Hydro Green Energy LLC announced it secured an equity capital and project development investment from Providence Renewables LLC of Dallas, Texas.

HGE also announced the appointment of Michael P. Maley as president and chief executive officer.

“This cash infusion will enable dynamic growth for Hydro Green Energy,” said Wayne F. Krouse, founder of HGE and newly named executive vice president of technology. “Our ability to secure funding in such a difficult economic climate validates our work to date and our vision of the future.”

The funds will be used to expedite the development of HGE’s nearly 1,000-MW pipeline of low-head hydropower projects. The company said it will hire additional technical, commercial and regulatory personnel, who will facilitate the successful development of HGE’s projects. In addition, the company will continue to fund the research and development of its innovative hydropower technologies.

The company is developing 34 low-head hydropower projects at existing non-powered dams in several states.

PSNH proposes new route for transmission

Public Service of New Hampshire proposed a new route for the 180 miles of power lines that would carry hydropower from Canada to New Hampshire.

PSNH, the group working to build the Northern Pass, told the Department of Energy that it is streamlining the proposed location of the power lines. PSNH also asked for a 60-day extension for public comment.

The revised proposal for the Northern Pass still stretches from Pittsburgh to Deerfield, but five alternate paths have been eliminated. PSNH said it will seek approval for the preferred route, mainly on existing rights of way.

Officials said Northern Pass could supply the electric grid in New England with enough renewable energy to power more than 1 million homes at a cheaper rate.

PSNH officials said they hope that very little, if any, eminent domain is needed for the Northern Pass project.

NYPA awards contracts for Lewiston plant upgrades

New York Power Authority announced the award of more than $7 million in contracts to firms in Buffalo and Queens as part of a planned enhancement of NYPA’s 240-MW Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant (LPGP), the auxiliary facility at the Niagara Power Project, which is marking 50 years of successful operation this year.

The NYPA Board of Trustees approved three-year contracts with Ferguson Electric Construction Co. of Buffalo and Welsbach Electric Corp. of Queens in support of the Life Extension and Modernization Program that is scheduled to get fully under way at the Lewiston plant late next year.

A $4.05 million contract with Ferguson Electric provides for the company’s installation of four new generator step-up transformers. The work will include the removal and disposal of the existing transformers, installation of new units procured under a separate contract, and structural repairs to the GSU containment pits and access hatches.

The main purpose of GSUs is to step up the voltage.

Another contract was awarded to Welsbach Electric, for $2.96 million, for replacing existing transmission voltage terminations that connect underground cables to overhead lines.

The work will include the disconnection, disposal and replacement of the existing terminations, pot-shaped insulating fittings connected to three 230-kilovolt lines.

The work by Ferguson Electric - the largest electrical contractor in Western New York-and Welsbach Electric will commence toward the end of this year and be undertaken in four phases for completion by the spring of 2013.

Normandeau Associates acquires fisheries consultant

Normandeau Associates Inc. announced it has acquired fisheries consulting firm Thomas R. Payne & Associates .

California-based Thomas R. Payne & Associates has extensive experience in the analysis of instream flow needs and the impacts of water resource project development on fishery resources.

TRPA, located in Arcata on the Redwood Coast of Northern California, has performed fisheries research throughout the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain States, New England and the East Coast, and Hawaii and Guam, with an emphasis on northern and central California.

FERC receives one license application in February

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its Energy Infrastructure Update for February 2011, reporting it received applications for one minor hydropower license and three license exemptions during the month.

FERC’s Office of Energy Projects reported all four applications were for conventional hydropower projects, with the license totaling 22.5 kW and the three exemptions totaling 1.096 MW. FERC also issued two amendments increasing installed capacities of conventional projects by a total of 6.494 MW.

In its highlights for February, the update said FERC received the application for minor license from David Creasey for the proposed 22.5-kW Creasey hydropower project (No. 13829) on Lincoln Creek and the Lincoln Creek Drainage Ditch on the Fort Hall Reservation, Fort Hall, Idaho.

Also in February, FERC received applications for (maximum) 5-MW small hydro exemptions from:

U.S. utility files to relicense 876.6-MW Keowee-Toxaway

 

Duke Energy announced March 15 it filed documents with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to officially begin the multi-year relicensing process for the two-development, 867.6-MW Keowee-Toxaway hydroelectric project in South Carolina and North Carolina.

North Carolina-based Duke said it filed a notice of intent to file an application for a new license (relicense) and a pre-application document that provides FERC, federal and state agencies, and other stakeholders with information on Keowee-Toxaway, which includes the 157.5-MW Keowee plant and the 710-MW Jocassee pumped-storage plant on the Keowee, Little, Whitewater, Toxaway, Thompson, and Horsepasture rivers, all tributaries of the Savannah River.

FERC recently certified incremental hydropower generation planned for Jocassee to be eligible for a renewable energy production tax credit. Duke Energy plans to replace runners and perform related work at pump-turbine Units 1 and 2 of Jocassee.

Duke said the pre-application document compiles existing information on environmental, cultural, and natural resources; recreation; and socio-economics. It also identifies pertinent issues and defines potential studies that Duke and stakeholders will undertake during relicensing.

FERC denies latest challenge of relicensing 49.8-MW School Street

In its latest rebuff of a tardy competitor for a Mohawk River hydropower site, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied rehearing of its second order to relicense Erie Boulevard Hydropower L.P.’s 49.8-MW School Street hydroelectric project in New York.

FERC reaffirmed March 17 that competing developer Green Island Power Authority does not have standing to propose development of the competing 100-MW Cohoes Falls project at the School Street site. Even if Green Island did have standing, FERC reiterated, its cost estimates are unrealistic, making Cohoes Falls not a feasible alternative to School Street.

“Green Island has presented us with numerous, often contradictory arguments in support of its quest to obtain the School Street site,” FERC’s order denying rehearing said. “While Green Island has, on occasion, described its intent as simply to present an alternative for commission consideration, it is clear that Green Island seeks nothing less than a license for the Cohoes Falls Project, a project that is an untimely competitor pursuant to the relicensing provisions of the FPA (Federal Power Act).”

PPL completes sale of generating assets

PPL Corp. completed the sale of its interests in certain non-core generating stations to an affiliate of LS Power Equity Advisors for approximately $381 million in cash, PPL reported.

The transaction includes the 244-MW PPL Wallingford Energy plant, a natural gas-fired facility in the Town of Wallingford, Conn.; the 585-MW PPL University Park plant, a natural gas-fired facility in University Park, Ill.; and PPL’s one-third share in Safe Harbor Water Power Corp., owner of the 421-MW Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Station on the Susquehanna River in Conestoga, Pa.

The sale, for which PPL recorded an after-tax special item charge of $64 million in 2010, primarily in the third quarter, is factored into PPL’s current 2011 earnings and cash flow forecasts.

Central Vermont Public Service reaches settlement

Central Vermont Public Service reached a settlement with the Vermont Department of Public Service, the Town of Proctor Selectboard and Omya Inc. for the purchase of assets of and consolidation of service territory of the Vermont Marble Power Division of Omya.

The transaction has already been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the hydro sites and transmission facilities involved in the sale, but must also be approved by the Vermont Public Service Board.

Under the settlement, the purchase price of the previously announced sale will decrease from $33.2 million to approximately $29.25 million, including $28.25 million for Vermont Marble’s hydroelectric facilities and about $1 million for the other assets. The agreement includes a five-year, six-step phase-in of residential rate changes for existing VMPD customers, which will be funded by Omya up to an amount estimated to be approximately $1.125 million.

Morris receives 2011 United States Energy Award

Michael G. Morris, chairman and chief executive of American Electric Power, was named the 2011 recipient of the United States Energy Award, which recognizes leadership initiatives and contributions to the global understanding of energy issues.

Morris has led AEP’s efforts to advance an interstate high-voltage transmission system in the U.S., developed innovative carbon capture and storage systems for coal-fueled power plants, and implemented energy efficiency initiatives and distribution technologies.

Before joining AEP, Morris served as chairman, president and CEO of Northeast Utilities System and was heavily involved in the formation of ISO-New England, as well as restructuring and retail customer choice in the New England states.

FERC rejects incremental generation at Maine project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a request by Messalonskee Stream Hydro LLC for FERC to certify incremental generation of 100 percent for the 1.8-MW Union Gas hydro development, part of the 6.3-MW Messalonskee hydroelectric project (No. 2556) on Maine’s Messalonskee Stream.

Messalonskee Stream Hydro, an affiliate of Essex Hydro Associates LLC, acquired the project in 2003 from FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC.

Other developments include 2.9-MW Oakland and 1.6-MW Rice Rips. At that time, Union Gas had not been operating since 2001 due to failure of the development’s dam.

The new owner reconstructed the dam and resumed generation in 2007.

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