Hydro Review

Industry News

Resolution could lead to hydro development in Oregon

An agreement to a long-standing dispute over water allocation from Oregon's Crooked River could lead to hydro development at the state's Prineville Reservoir.

The agreement, reached in August, involved a number of shareholders, including local farmers and ranchers, the city of Prineville, environmental advocacy groups and power producers.

"This bill ends 40 years of fighting and paralysis," says Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who will co-sponsor legislation concerning the waters, alongside Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). "I look forward to working with all the partners in central Oregon to get this done."

The agreement would:

- Provide Prineville with a source of water;

- Provide water to farmers that use Prineville Reservoir and McKay Creek for irrigation;

- Improve fish habitats in the Crooked River and McCay Creek; and

- Provide for installation of a hydro component at Arthur R. Bowman Dam.

The hydroelectric plant's capacity was not disclosed, although an order denying application for a preliminary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit in 2004 indicates a proposed 6.8-MW project.

HydroWorld.com is new and improved

The editors and staff of Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines announce a redesign of the HydroWorld.com website, the hydro industry's proven authority.

The redesign is intended to provide access to needed news, information, articles and data faster and easier than ever before. Some important features of the site include:

- More free content and daily updates than any other hydro website in the world;

- The only place on the web offering a free weekly video newscast focusing on hydro;

- Comprehensive listing of hydro-related conferences, workshops, meetings and events occurring throughout the world, with live links to the sites;

- Subscription-based "Premium Content" section offering unparalleled access to top-level hydro regulatory news, a database of hydro project filings from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the most important hydro business opportunities throughout the world, with complete contact information for bidding; and

- Information and advertisements about the world's leading hydro product and service providers and these companies' offerings.

The editorial team also prepares a weekly electronic newsletter with a summary of all the recent news posted on the site. HydroWorld Weekly is distributed via e-mail free of charge every Tuesday. Each story conveniently links to the website for more details. Visit www.HydroWorld.com to sign up for this newsletter.

HydroWorld.com also is a media sponsor of the HydroVision event series - which bring together hydro professionals from throughout the world for annual HydroVision conferences and exhibitions in the U.S., as well as Brazil, India and Russia.

FERC certifies production tax credits at multiple projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has certified incremental generation at nine more hydro projects for renewable energy production tax credits.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the Internal Revenue Code to apply a PTC to incremental production gains from efficiency improvements or capacity additions to existing hydropower facilities placed in service after Aug. 8, 2005, and before Jan. 1, 2014. The Internal Revenue Service determines whether to grant the credits after FERC certifies hydropower production.

Projects certified recently are:

- Unit upgrade at 721-MW Clark Fork on the Clark Fork River in Idaho and Montana. Certification is for efficiency improvements from installation of a new turbine runner on Unit 4 of the project's 456-MW Noxon Rapids development. FERC found annual generation increased 0.35%.

- Two FPL projects in Maine. NextEra Energy Maine Operating Services LLC replaced flashboards with inflatable flashboard systems at its 7.812-MW West Buxton and 37.232-MW Gulf Island-Deer Rips projects. FERC found annual generation at West Buxton on the Saco River increased 2.75% and annual generation at the Deer Rips and Androscoggin 3 developments of Gulf Island-Deer Rips on the Androscoggin River increased 4.77%.

- 574.54-MW Conowingo. Exelon requested certification for installation of new stators on Units 9, 10 and 11. FERC found Conowingo, on the Susquehanna River in Maryland, had increased annual generation of 0.0138% for improvements to Unit 10 in 2010, 0.0131% for improvements to Unit 11 in 2011, and 0.0148% for improvements to Unit 9 in 2012.

- Two PG&E projects. Pacific Gas & Electric cited incremental generation from installation of more efficient turbine runners on the two Francis units of the 142.83-MW Poe project on the North Fork Feather River in California. FERC found annual generation at Poe increased 1.3% as a result of upgrading Unit 2 in February 2011. Using a new baseline of 572,489 MWh, FERC also found a 0.8% increase as a result of upgrading Unit 1 effective in October 2012. PG&E also cited incremental generation from replacement of two units of the 193-MW Rock Creek-Cresta project, which includes the 123-MW Rock Creek and 70-MW Cresta developments. FERC found the Rock Creek development had an annual generation increase of 4.6% as a result of upgrading Unit 2 effective in October 2012. Using a new baseline of 521,349 MWh, FERC also found a 3.8% increase as a result of upgrading Unit 1 effective in July 2013.

- 140-MW Cheoah. Alcoa cited incremental generation from replacement of the turbine runner, generator, wicket gates and related equipment of Unit 3 of its Cheoah development, scheduled to be complete in April 2013. FERC found the Cheoah development of the 380-MW Tapoco project on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah rivers in North Carolina and Tennessee had an annual generation increase of 0.613%.

- 60-MW Rainbow replacement. PPL Montana LLC won FERC certification of incremental generation from replacement of 35-MW Rainbow with a 60-MW plant on the Missouri River in Montana. The new Rainbow powerhouse, which is under construction, is a development of the 334.29-MW Missouri-Madison project. FERC found the Rainbow development had an annual generation increase of 52.41%.

- 83.7-MW Wyman. Based on an upgrade to Wyman Unit 3, FERC found the project had an annual generation increase of 3.45%.

Merging Vermont utilities seek transfer of 13 FERC licenses

Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and Green Mountain Power Corp. applied in July to transfer 13 CVPS hydropower licenses totaling 48.648 MW to Green Mountain in anticipation of the utilities' upcoming merger.

In a joint filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the utilities requested approval of the transfers by Sept. 17 in order to accommodate a planned Oct. 1 closing of the merger transaction.

In the first step of the merger, CVPS' outstanding common equity is to be held by Northern New England Energy Corp., a unit of Montreal-based Gaz Metro Limited Partnership, which also owns all of Green Mountain's common equity. In the second step, Green Mountain will succeed to the electric service responsibilities and ownership of CVPS' facilities, and CVPS will no longer exist.

Although ownership of CVPS' facilities will automatically move to Green Mountain, FERC approval is required for transfer of the 13 licenses, all in Vermont. Licenses to be transferred are:

- 21.05-MW Lamoille River on the Lamoille River;

- 250-kW Pierce Mills, 700-kW Gage, 350-kW Arnold Falls and 700-kW Passumpsic on the Passumpsic River;

- 275-kW Center Rutland, 14.03 Otter Creek, 3-MW Weybridge and 2.25-MW Middlebury Lower on Otter Creek;

- 1.44-MW Cavendish on the Black River;

- 503-kW Taftsville on the Ottaquechee River;

- 1.9-MW Carver Falls on the Poultney River; and

- 2.2-MW Silver Lake on Sucker Brook.

Additionally, the utilities advised FERC they would be transferring ownership of two projects that hold exemptions from licensing: 1.5-MW Bradford/Smith on Waits River and 2.2-MW East Barnet on Passumpsic River.

Voith Hydro's After Market Division, Peak Hydro merge

Voith Hydro's After Market Division and Peak Hydro Services have merged to form Voith Hydro Services. The merger, announced at HydroVision International 2012 in July, is intended to create a "one-stop shop and full-service provider for turbine and generator parts and repair."

Voith says its 135 years of experience in supplying turbines and generators in the U.S. and Peak Hydro's 27 years of weld repair, field machining and site maintenance are a perfect complement.

Voith Hydro Services will have offices in York, Pa.; Springfield, Ore.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hydro 2.0 Act could upgrade projects, create revenue

Legislation introduced in June could allow the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to use hydropower revenue to upgrade the efficiency of dozens of its generating sites.

The bill, called the "Hydro 2.0 Act," was introduced by Natural Resources Democratic Ranking Member Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Subcommittee on Water and Power Ranking Member Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.).

"The wildlife that swim and live in our rivers have evolved over millennia to become highly efficient in the water's currents. It's time that the same dams that create electric power from those waters evolve to become more efficient with the water, too," Markey says. "The bill we're introducing today will empower the Bureau of Reclamation to ensure our dams work smarter, not harder to produce electricity."

The legislation would give Reclamation the authority to develop power at existing projects through the Lease of Power Privilege process.

According to Markey's office, "It would also provide a funding mechanism to pay the capital costs associated with power, all for efficiencies at the existing project, and authorize funds for non-reimbursable purposes, including environmental mitigation."

Reclamation estimates that even a 1% efficiency improvement across its 60 sites could produce an additional 16.2 MW of capacity, which could be used to generate about $5.7 million annually.

Report shows effects of climate change in California

A report released in late July by the California Energy Commission and Climate Change Center indicates the Golden State's hydro outlook might be declining.

The study, titled "Our Changing Climate 2012, Vulnerability & Adaptation to the Increasing Risks from Climate Change in California," is the third in a series of assessments about the impact of climate change on California's infrastructure and economy.

According to the report, temperatures have risen statewide by an average of 1.7 degrees between 1895 and 2011, with another 2.7 degree increase predicted through the first half of the 21st century.

Higher temperatures will result in more frequent large storms, greater electricity demand and increased wildfires, CEC says. And even though stronger storms are predicted, reservoirs are expected to have decreased water supplies on average because the state has historically relied heavily on snowmelt.

The report says nearly three-fourths of California's hydroelectric power is produced by facilities located at altitudes above 1,000 feet that typically rely on small snowmelt-fed reservoirs, thus making them more vulnerable to the increased temperatures.

CEC says wildfires will create burned landscapes and silt that will erode into reservoirs, thereby decreasing hydropower capacity even more. These fires will also make California's power distribution system more vulnerable, particularly in areas where transmission lines connect to hydro sources in the Pacific Northwest.

Eagle Creek acquires company, new hydroelectric facility

Eagle Creek Renewable Energy LLC completed its acquisition of Blue Heron Hydro LLC in early August.

Blue Heron owns the development rights for two hydro facilities to be built on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams on the West River in southern Vermont. Eagle Creek says the acquisition marks its first purely developmental project.

The plants, to be located at the Ball Mountain and Townshend dams, will combine for about 3.1 MW of capacity. Power generated by the facilities has already been sold via a long-term power purchase agreement through Vermont's Sustainability Priced Energy Development (SPEED) program.

Eagle Creek says manufacturing of the' turbine and generator equipment is already under way, with construction to begin in the first quarter of 2013. Both facilities are expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

In related news, Eagle Creek also purchased the 7-MW Swinging Bridge plant from Alliance Energy. The purchase includes the Toronto and Swinging Bridge reservoirs as well as Cliff Lake, which flow into the Delaware River system.

Eagle Creek's hydro portfolio includes 29 facilities in six states, with a combined capacity of 64 MW.

Hydro Research Foundation fellows convene at HydroVision

The 31 fellows of the Hydro Research Foundation met at the HydroVision International event in July in Louisville, Ky., to participate in educational opportunities and attend a Fellows Roundtable.

An educational seminar attended by the fellows included an industry overview, discussion of environmental considerations, and presentation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Fellows also got the opportunity to visit Louisville Gas and Electric's 80-MW Ohio Falls plant.

The fellows were celebrated as a group and recognized for their accomplishments at an industry-sponsored dinner.

During the Fellows Roundtable, the group presented their research introductions and findings. Eight of the fellows presented their final findings. During the conference, six fellows presented in panel presentation, technical paper and poster gallery sessions.

The fellows also had a booth in the exhibit hall at HydroVision where they could connect with industry experts and talk about their research.

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