Industry News

FERC issues relicense to 774.3-MW Wells in Washington

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has relicensed 774.3-MW Wells on the Columbia River in Washington, approving the relicensing proposal of licensee Douglas County Public Utility District, plus FERC staff modifications.

Wells consists of a concrete structure containing 10 generating units; 11 spillways, five of which are modified for juvenile fish bypass; a switchyard; two fish ladders with trap and sorting facilities; earth and rockfill west and east embankments; a fish hatchery; and two 41-mile-long transmission lines.

Douglas PUD proposed new visitor interpretive displays, refurbishment of fish hatchery facilities, construction of a tent camping facility, and expansion of marina and boat launch facilities. The licensee also proposed continued implementation of the Wells Anadromous Fish Agreement and implementation of management plans for water quality, bull trout, Pacific lamprey, white sturgeon, resident fish, aquatic nuisance species, wildlife and botanical species, avian protection, historic properties and recreation.

FERC approved its staff alternative, which consists of measures in Douglas PUD's proposal and some additional staff recommendations, plus mandatory conditions and some recommendations by state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations.

FERC's economic analysis found operating the project as licensed would produce power at $89.28/MWh less than the cost of alternative power, compared with $88.80/MWh less for Douglas PUD's proposal and $88.84/MWh less for the preferred staff alternative with mandatory conditions.

Repairs for Raccoon Mountain pumped-storage pass $50 million

A design flaw at the 1,600-MW Raccoon Mountain pumped-storage facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., is proving to be a costly issue to repair, with an estimated expenditure of $55 million.

After reports of a unit fire when a rotor pole broke away from the rim at a similar pumped-storage plant in Austria, Tennessee Valley Authority inspected Unit 3 at Raccoon Mountain. The unit was undamaged, but an inspection of Unit 2 showed evidence of rotor cracks. The facility was taken offline immediately, and cracks were found in Units 1 and 2.

"While living without the Raccoon Mountain units has been difficult, the potential damage that could have been done to our assets and, most importantly the damage that could have been done to our people, certainly warranted us taking the conservative approach," Kim Greene, TVA executive vice president, said at a recent board meeting.

TVA estimates the work will delay scheduled closings of some coal-fired units at the Johnsonville and Colbert plants until 2014, when repairs are complete. One of the four units has been repaired and is online.

HRF accepting nominations for 2013 Fellowship Program

The Hydro Research Foundation is accepting applications for its Hydro Fellowship Program. This year, HRF will fund up to eight fellowships in amounts ranging from US$46,400 to 9,600.

The program is open to students who will complete their Masters degree or post-Masters research by December 2014. Applications are due March 1, 2013, with the selections being announced May 1, 2013.

HRF receives much of the program's funding via a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program. Knight Piesold Consulting, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Weir American Hydro and HydroVision International are also amongst the program's partner organizations.

FERC OKs pilot hydrokinetic license, two exemptions in October

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a pilot hydrokinetic license for a 100-kW project in Alaska and license exemptions for conduit projects in Utah and California during October.

The Energy Infrastructure Update for October 2012, issued by FERC's Office of Energy Projects, showed the commission also received license applications for seven projects in Ohio and an exemption application for a conduit project in California.

FERC issued a pilot hydrokinetic license to Alaska developer Whitestone Power and Communications for the 100-kW Whitestone Poncelet RISEC project on the Delta and Tanana rivers. Whitestone plans to develop a single pontoon-mounted undershot Poncelet waterwheel to generate power from the river current.

The commission issued exemptions to two conduit projects: 37-kW Monroe Cold Spring being developed by Monroe City, Utah; and 380-kW Lincoln Metering Station being developed by Placer County Water Agency in California.

HydroWorld announces new features and resources

The editors of Hydro Review magazine announce several new tools available online at

A section called "Business Transactions & Transitions" in the left column of the home page allows for easier access to hydro market-related stories. Abd has released a "virtual tour" of its Premium Content section, which shows users how to make the most of the site's subscription-only portion.

Finally, is expanding its presence on social media platforms, with Facebook and Twitter pages that provide both news and another opportunity to interact with the editors.

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