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FERC cancels permit held by backers of dam removal

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has canceled a preliminary permit held by backers of a plan to remove three mothballed hydro projects from Michigan’s Boardman River.

The three-year preliminary permit ostensibly allowed Grand Traverse County and Traverse City, Mich., time to study developing the 2.175-MW Boardman River project. However, in effect, it kept competitors from attempting to redevelop the project during a campaign to remove Boardman’s three developments, 1-MW Boardman Dam, 675-kW Brown Bridge Dam and 500-kW Sabin Dam.

According to an Aug. 29 news release by the Boardman River Dams Project, a dam removal coalition, Grand Traverse County and Traverse City voted to proceed with dam removal in April 2009, two months after they had received the FERC permit. The Boardman River Dams Project Internet site at www.theboardman.org identifies the county and city as members of the group’s dam removal Implementation Team.

At the time of permit issuance, FERC noted a number of commenters raised concerns that the city and county have no intention of pursuing project development and filed a permit application only to prevent other entities from developing the project. However, at that time, FERC said it could cancel the permit if the city and county failed to show sufficient progress in studying the project.

Reclamation issues draft EA for 7-MW Ridgway project

The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a draft environmental assessment supporting a proposed federal Lease of Power Privilege to construct a 7-MW hydroelectric project at Ridgway Dam in Colorado.

A Lease of Power Privilege is a congressionally authorized alternative to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hydropower licensing. It gives a non-federal entity authorization to use Reclamation-owned water or facilities for generation and sale of hydropower. Reclamation issued a similar draft EA in September for the 1.1-MW C-Drop project in Oregon.

Ridgway Dam of Reclamation’s Dallas Creek Project was built on the Uncompahgre River in 1987 to increase water supplies for irrigation and municipal and industrial purposes and to provide flood control. Water supplies are distributed through existing facilities or facilities constructed by the Tri-County Water Conservancy District or the water users.

If the draft is given final approval, Reclamation would issue the Lease of Power Privilege to Tri-County Water Conservancy District to build and operate the Ridgway Dam project.

Maintenance gate rehabbed and returned to Boundary Dam

Seattle City Light recently completed rehabilitating a 312-ton sluice maintenance gate at Boundary Dam on the Pend Oreille River in northeast Washington.

The gate was removed in September 2010 for rehabilitation, and the rehab was completed in September 2011. The gate was put back in place as the reservoir was lowered to allow workers to mount the gate to the dam.

The gate sits underwater and is used to seal off one of the dam’s seven sluices so that regular maintenance can be performed on the gates used to control the amount of water in the reservoir.

“Boundary Dam is a vital resource for Seattle City Light, providing about half of the electricity we produce for our customers, and a significant contributor to the economy of Pend Oreille County,” said Superintendent Jorge Carrasco. “Completing this maintenance work is an important part of ensuring its operation for years to come.”

The gate’s last rehabilitation occurred 28 years ago, the utility said.

(For more details, see the feature article on page 20.)

U.S. awards excitation, switchgear contracts at Elephant Butte

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded contracts totaling $3 million to replace excitation systems and unit and station service switchgear at the 27.945-MW Elephant Butte project on the Rio Grande in Sierra County, N.M.

Koontz Electric Co. Inc. of Morrilton, Ark., received a $1.8 million contract to furnish and install new fully static excitation equipment for the three units in the power plant including fused disconnect switches, power potential transformers, circuit breakers, SCR bridges, digital voltage regulators and limiters, instrumentation, protection, and control components. Reclamation took bids for the work in July.

Eaton Corp. of Raleigh, N.C., received a $1.2 million contract to furnish and install new 15-kilovolt unit switchgear, 4.76-kV station service switchgear, 5-kV insulated power cables, 600-kV insulated cables, and electrical conduits for Elephant Butte.

Switchgear retrofill awarded for Headgate Rock

Reclamation also awarded a $420,644 contract to Siemens Industry Inc. to retrofill low-voltage station service switchgear at the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ 19.5-MW Headgate Rock Dam in Arizona.

Siemens Industry, of Buffalo Grove, Ill., is to perform a retrofill, replacing existing breakers, operating controls and other components, specially designed so that they fit within existing racks. Reclamation called for state-of-the-art solutions in circuit breaker technology for replacement of circuit breakers and associated cubicle/cradle hardware.

Contracts awarded for breakers, pressure valves at Hoover

Reclamation awarded a $2.4 million contract to Gardner Zemke Co. to supply two generator circuit breakers and related equipment at Hoover Dam.

Zemke, of Albuquerque, N.M., is to design, manufacture, deliver, and install two generator-type SF6 breakers, rated at 25.3-kilovolts and rated to interrupt 128,000 amps fault current. The contract is expected to have a two-year performance period.

Reclamation also awarded a $2.2 million contract to Precision Machine and Supply Inc. for refurbishment of pressure-regulating valves at Hoover.

Headgate rehab contract for Dry Falls Dam in Washington

Reclamation has awarded Washington-based Knight Construction & Supply Inc. a $1.39 million contract for rehabilitation and replacement of headgates at Dry Falls Dam in Washington.

Dry Falls Dam and North Dam impound Banks Lake in Grand Coulee, which feeds Columbia River water into the main canal of the 6,809-MW Grand Coulee hydropower project.

Reclamation seeks installation of six new government-furnished bulkhead gates with underwater inspection required. The contractor also is to remove bulkhead gates after completion of gate rehabilitation work and clean, prepare and coat six radial gates. Related peripheral work is required.

FERC licenses 24-MW Lake Livingston

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an original license to the 24-MW Lake Livingston hydroelectric project in Texas and received a license application for the 6.5-MW Allison Creek project in Alaska during the month of August.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for August 2011, compiled by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, said FERC issued an original license in August to East Texas Electric Cooperative Inc. for Lake Livingston. The project is to be built at the Trinity River Authority’s Lake Livingston Dam on the Trinity River near Livingston.

On behalf of East Texas Electric, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. secured a $10.2 million allocation of Clean Renewable Energy Bond authority for the Lake Livingston project in 2008.

The cooperative proposes to build a headrace channel, an intake, three new penstocks, a powerhouse, a tailrace channel, a 3.2-mile transmission line, and a switchyard.

The commission also reported that Copper Valley Electric Association Inc. filed a final license application for the 6.5-MW Allison Creek hydro project proposed for Allison Creek at Port Valdez, Alaska.

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