Seattle passes final hurdle for FERC relicense of 1,003-MW Boundary project
The city of Seattle overcame the final hurdle to relicensing the 1,003-MW Boundary hydro project, with the deadline for appeals of its new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license passing Aug. 19.
FERC issued an order March 20 relicensing the project on Washington's Pend Oreille River. In operation since 1967, Boundary provides 25% of the power used by the city of Seattle. Seattle City Light filed to relicense Boundary in 2009.
"We are glad to have earned the trust of regulators and the many parties involved, and remain committed to being responsible stewards of this great natural resource," Seattle City Light General Manager Jorge Carrasco said. "Final approval of the 42-year license is a critical economic benefit to Seattle City Light's customers and to Pend Oreille PUD customers."
In a related order carrying out as part of a Boundary project relicensing agreement, FERC accepted the surrender of the license for an upstream water storage project, Sullivan Creek. Seattle and Sullivan Creek's licensee, Pend Oreille County Public Utility District, are to remove that project's Mill Pond Dam and perform other work to improve aquatic habitat in Sullivan Creek and Sullivan Lake.
The Boundary settlement agreement includes obligations for evaluating and providing fish passage for resident salmon, including fish entrainment, improving aquatic habitat, stocking fish for recreational purposes, conserving native fish, groundwater well decommissioning, and acquiring and managing land for wildlife.
Eagle Creek closes on new financing, acquires 10 projects
Eagle Creek Renewable Energy has closed on equity financing of up to US$100 million that will be used to fund acquisitions, development projects and the company's growth in the hydroelectric sector. The financing is a joint investment between Macquarie Funds Management and Power Energy Eagle Creek LLC, which is an entity comprised of Claridge Inc. and Power Corporation of Canada-subsidiary Power Energy Corporation.
The New Jersey-based company recently announced its acquisition of 10 small hydropower projects from Algonquin Power, giving Eagle Creek an overall portfolio consisting of 39 plants in seven states. The plants have a combined capacity of about 90 MW, with an additional 4 MW to be added by three projects currently in the construction phase.
"We are extremely pleased to complete this important strategic acquisition, which solidifies our position as a leading Northeast hydropower generator," Eagle Creek Chief Executive Officer Bud Cherry said. "Eagle Creek's growth began with our first purchase of hydro facilities in 2010, and we look forward to continuing our expansion into the future."
The company said the hydro plants will be integrated into its existing fleet under the direction of Eagle Creek and former Algonquin employees.
Huskilson, Martin named Canadian Energy Person of the Year for 2013
Chris Huskilson, president and chief executive officer of Emera Inc., and Ed Martin, president and CEO of Nalcor Energy, were presented with the 2013 Canadian Energy Person of the Year award in October.
According to the Energy Council of Canada, this award is given in recognition of the major contributions the recipients have made, and continue to make, to the energy sector in Atlantic Canada and the significance of their leadership within the sector across Canada. Both companies have a broad range of interests throughout Atlantic Canada, Canada and the U.S.
Under the leadership of Huskilson and Martin, Nalcor and Emera have formed a strategic partnership for the development of Phase One of the Lower Churchill Project - Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link Project. The scope and impact of the Muskrat Falls project is recognized as one of Canada's most important energy projects, Energy Council of Canada says.
Huskilson began his career in energy in 1980 with Nova Scotia Power. He was part of the team that commissioned the Annapolis Tidal Generating Station. Huskilson because president and CEO of Emera in 2004 and has overseen the growth of the company, including investments in Bangor Hydro, Brunswick Pipeline, Grand Bahama Power, Light and Power Holdings, and Maine and Maritimes.
Martin has more than 30 years of experience in the energy sector and joined Nalcor in 2005. The company is involved in large-scale energy developments and operations in the hydro and oil and gas sectors, including operation of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation.
Industry leaders, policy makers react to bill enactment
Hydroelectric power's place in America's energy mix has been cemented following the enactment of House Resolutions 267 and 678 by President Barack Obama in early August, industry advocates say. H.R. 267 (or the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013) and H.R. 678 (the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act) both received unanimous approval from the U.S. Senate before being signed into law by Obama.
The bills mark the first significant piece of energy legislation to be enacted since the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to the National Hydropower Association (NHA). "Hydropower is America's leading renewable, providing low-cost, reliable electricity to millions of American families," NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci said. "These bills are an excellent step to unlocking the tens of thousands of megawatts of untapped hydropower capacity that can provide millions of Americans greater access to affordable, reliable electricity."
A study conducted by Navigant Consulting indicates 60,000 MW of hydropower could be added to the nation's grid with the right policies in place, creating 1.4 million cumulative jobs. "Expanding hydropower in the United States will strengthen and diversify our country's energy portfolio," Ciocci said. "From the unanimous passage of these bills, it is clear that the development of more clean, affordable hydropower is a goal that lawmakers from both parties can get behind."
Indeed, support for the two bills has been strong from both sides of the aisle, with each co-sponsored by members of both parties. "This initiative was a bipartisan effort from start to finish, and together we've now created a law that will help get Americans back to work and will move us forward in our nation's clean energy leadership," said Rep. Diana DeGette, who co-authored H.R. 267 with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The bill promotes the development of small hydropower and in-conduit projects while also decreasing the regulatory timeframes associated with certain other low-impact projects, such as the addition of generating components to non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped-storage systems.
Meanwhile, H.R. 678 - introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) - authorizes small hydro development at Reclamation-owned canals, pipelines, aqueducts and other manmade waterways. "I'm honored that I was able to lead the charge for this commonsense effort that received broad and bipartisan support at the local, state and national levels," Tipton said. "With the signing of the Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act into law, we have made headway in the effort to establish American energy independence and put people back to work."
H.R. 678 also removes application of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) from some projects, further streamlining the licensing process.