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Marseilles project development gets new backing

New investors have provided the funding necessary to move the 10.26-MW Marseilles plant forward, says developer Gravity Renewables. Following the "successful recapitalization and reorganization of its ownership," the Colorado-based group has acquired the property and rights to the Marseilles Land & Water Company (MLWC), which owns the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the project. The project will use headrace infrastructure that was installed for a prior hydropower plant that was completed in the early 1900s.

"This deal will revitalize a project with a long and storied history," Gravity Renewables Chief Operating Officer Ted Rose said. "It is an exciting milestone for Marseilles and the small hydro industry."

Summit Energy Development Group, a California-based energy company, will serve as project manager and developer. Meanwhile, Switzerland's Signina Capital will act as the principal investor.

The Marseilles project will be located near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Marseilles Lock and Dam and should be operational in 2015.

Ames, Kananaskis, and Keokuk projects join Hydro Hall of Fame

Three plants were added to the Hydro Hall of Fame at this year's HydroVision International closing awards luncheon and finale in Denver, Colo., in July.

The Hydro Hall of Fame is a collection of 36 plants that have operated continuously for 100 years or more. These testaments to hydropower's durability and long life have been chosen as inductees by the editors of Hydro Review since 1995.

The Ames, Kananaskis, and Keokuk plants were inducted into the 2013 Hall of Fame, with representatives from each plant in attendance to accept the award.

Xcel Energy's 3.75-MW Ames station near Ophir, Colo., was built in 1906. The Ames plant played an important role in the history of electricity, marking the first use of alternating current generated, transmitted, sold and distributed for commercial purposes in the world.

The Kananaskis facility began operating in May 1913 with a capacity of 9 MW split between two vertical Francis unit. It has since been expanded to a current capacity of 19 MW. Owned by TransAlta, the facility is located just below the confluence of the Kananaskis and Bow rivers in Alberta, Canada.

The Keokuk plant in Iowa celebrates its centennial this year. Keokuk was built to harness the power of the Mississippi River. It was a first for the hydro industry in many ways, including being the largest hydro project in the world, with a total capacity of 125 MW, connected to the longest monolithic concrete dam at the time, and the largest privately financed construction project.

For more on these plants, check out the video library at www.hydroworld.com/video.html. To nominate your 100-year old plant for inclusion in the Hydro Hall of Fame, e-mail Bethany Duarte at bethanyd@pennwell.com.

Removal of Maine's Veazie Dam begins

Removal of the Veazie Dam on Maine's Penobscot River began in July, continuing efforts that will restore nearly 1,000 miles of habitat for a number of sea-run fish species.

The work is being undertaken by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, which purchased the 8.4-MW Veazie, 7.9-MW Great Works and 1.9-MW Howland projects and their associated dams from PPL Corporation for about US$24 million in 2010.

Removal of Great Works Dam was completed in 2012, with Veazie to be gone by the end of 2014, according to the organization. Veazie Dam is an 830-foot-long, 30-foot-high buttress-style structure that was completed in 1913.

"The Veazie Dam removal is a major step forward in the restoration of Maine's native sea-run fisheries, which are vital to the biodiversity of marine and freshwater habitats in our state," Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said.

Meanwhile, fish passage improvements will be made at Howland Dam, providing access to the Penobscot River for many species, including Atlantic salmon Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon, river herring and American eels.

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust includes the Penobscot Indian Nation, seven conservation groups, two hydroelectric project operators, and a number of state and federal agencies.

FERC details hydro licensing activity in June

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued exemptions for two hydroelectric projects totaling 135 kW and received an application for another project of 750 kW during June. The Energy Infrastructure Update for June 2013, compiled by FERC's Office of Energy Projects, also reported the 7.5-MW South Canal project has begun operation in Colorado.

FERC said it issued a (maximum) 5-MW exemption from licensing to Historic Harrisville Inc. for the 90-kW Cheshire Mills project, proposed for the existing Cheshire Mills Dam on Nubanusit Brook in Harrisville, N.H. The commission also issued a conduit exemption to Lucid Energy Inc. and the city of Portland Water Bureau for the 45-kW Conduit 3 project in Multnomah County, Ore. Lucid and the city of Portland agreed in December 2012 to begin construction of an in-pipe system, using Lucid's "LucidPipe" generating units, to be installed in a large-diameter, gravity fed water pipeline.

Also in June, Pershing County Water Conservation District filed a license application for the 750-kW Humboldt River project, to be located at the existing Rye Patch Dam on the Humboldt River in Pershing County, Nev.

FERC also reported the 7.5-MW South Canal project was brought on line by Delta-Montrose Electric Assn. on an Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association irrigation canal in Montrose County, Colo. The two-powerhouse project in the Gunnison River Basin did not require FERC licensing because it was authorized under a Bureau of Reclamation lease of power privilege governing private hydropower development on Reclamation facilities.

The June 2013 update may be obtained at www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/2013/jun-energy-infrastructure.pdf.

MWH Global chairman speaks at HydroVision International

During HydroVision International 2013's opening session on July 23, MWH Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Krause shared his insight and experience gained in developing hydroelectric power on an international scale.

HydroVision International, held in Denver's Colorado Convention Center, is the world's largest event dedicated to the hydroelectric industry, with attendance by more than 3,100 and visitors from six continents.

With more than 10% of the world's population lacking access to clean drinking water and roughly 30% without energy, Krause said, hydropower's role worldwide is only becoming more significant. "The nexus between water and energy is exciting and growing," Krause said. "There's absolutely no reason why hydropower can't be the synapse between those two. Hydropower must play a significant role in the equation."

Speaking in terms of hydroelectric development in the U.S., Krause emphasized the need for legislative and financial support that puts hydropower on an even playing field with other forms of renewable energy. "Fiscal policies put hydropower at an unfair advantage," Krause said. "There should be no tax incentives, in my opinion, for renewables that exclude hydropower. We simply can't afford that in this country any longer."

Krause said the global outlook for hydropower is positive, with both the World Bank and other international lending agencies recognizing its benefits. "There's no better time for the hydropower industry than right now," he said. "Let's not forget that somewhere between 16% and 19% of the world's electricity comes from hydropower. That's more than nuclear. The levelized cost per kWh makes hydropower one of the most - if not the most - attractive energy sources in the world."

Krause said advocacy by the industry itself must remain strong, however, if hydropower is to be competitive in international discussion. "I am very bullish about our industry," he said. "The enthusiasm in this room and this conference must be transferred to the political agenda of renewable and sustainable energy. If we are united and passionate in that vision, our future will be bright."

FERC approves changes in ancillary service sales, reporting

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued final rules July 18 intending to bring greater competition and transparency to markets for ancillary services to the transmission grid.

FERC said its final rules (RM11-24) are to enhance the ability of ancillary services providers to compete for sale of services to public utility transmission providers. Ancillary services such as energy storage, regulation, frequency response, reactive supply, scheduling, and black start can be provided by conventional and pumped-storage projects.

The rules also adopt reforms to provide greater transparency with regard to reserve requirements for regulation and frequency response.

FERC said the final rule requires each public utility transmission provider to add to its Open Access Transmission Tariff Schedule 3 a statement that it will take into account the speed and accuracy of regulation resources in its determination of reserve requirements for regulation and frequency response service, as well as adopts reforms to FERC's accounting and reporting regulations to add new electric plant and operation and maintenance expense accounts for energy storage devices.

The final rules are available at www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2013/071813/E-22.pdf.

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