Portland, Maine (March 4, 2010) - The Institute's Governing Board determined that the Ware River Hydroelectric Project meets the LIHI Certification Criteria. In reaching its decision to certify the Ware River Hydroelectric Project, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute's Governing Board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer's report. The Board's vote to certify the Ware River Hydroelectric Project was unanimous. LIHI received comments on this application from Mass DEP and Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife (MDF&W) and although MDF&W's original comments were in opposition to LIHI the issues of concern were resolved to both parties satisfaction.
LIHI certifies the Ware River Hydroelectric Project (project or facility) effective August 24, 2009 with the following non-standard conditions:
The flow agreement reached between the Applicant and the MDF&W is not a formal "resource agency recommendation" based on a proceeding. The agreement requires the Applicant to increase the cubic feet per second (cfs) in the bypass reach area, at a proportion directly relative to the percentage of capacity that qualifies for MA Class 1 REC's. For example, if the DOER finds that Pioneer qualifies for 20% class one REC's, then Pioneer will increase its minimum stream flow in the reach by 20%.
In addition, if the Applicant qualifies for MA class 1 REC's, they will make efforts to design and construct a minimum stream flow turbine to be placed at the base of the upper dam which would utilize the aquatic base flow of 84 cfs or more and restore the bypass reach to more original flow conditions.
The certification will be suspended if, no later than December 31, 2010 the Applicant has not filed documentation with the Low Impact Hydropower Institute demonstrating that they have filed with FERC a description of the flow agreement signed by the Applicant and the MDF&G.
The certification of the Ware River Hydroelectric Project will expire on August 24, 2014.
Portland, Maine (August 24, 2009) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that Ware River Hydro, Inc. ("Applicant" or "WRH") has submitted an application for certification of the Pioneer Hydroelectric Company Project located on the Ware River in Ware, MA.
Background - Ware River Power, Inc. (WRP) was incorporated in 1980 by David Wright for the purpose of rehabilitating existing mill type hydroelectric generating plants with capacities smaller than 5 megawatts. Pioneer Hydro Electric Company was purchased and Refurbished by a competitor of Ware River Power Inc. in 1981. The site filed and received a FERC exemption on February 12, 1982. The Project consists of two dams within a ¼ mile of each other. These dams are known as the Ware Upper dam and the Ware Lower dam. The upper dam and falls are 34 feet high and the lower dam and falls are 16 feet high. In 1995, Lucas, David and Sarah Wright (Ware River Power, Inc.) purchased Pioneer Hydroelectric Company Project out of bankruptcy.
Pioneer Hydroelectric Company is managed and owned by Lucas Wright a "hands on" operator with over 20 years experience in hydropower. He resides 5.6 miles from the plant and is assisted by the staff (two employees) of Ware River Power Inc. The Applicant took over management of the Project in April of 1995 and immediately made changes. The back tax bill of $250,000 was paid in full to the town of Ware. A weir was created in the upper flashboards to obtain minimum stream flow without use of siphons. Pond leveling controls, automation, and pager alarm systems were put into use to make the plant "run of river" at all times, thus protecting the aquatic life surrounding Greenville Park. The culvert bubbling water onto Main Street, after three years of experimental repairs, was fixed permanently in 1998. Demolition of an entire side of the canal and construction of a new wall stopped leakage into the tax collectors basement. Pointing and reconstruction of the opposite wall stopped leakage of water into the fire station. Fences were painted and repaired and a new catwalk was built. Flood gates were repaired as well. All five turbines and two generators at the plant were rebuilt and turbines were epoxy coated for higher efficiency. Here are some of the accomplishments that sound operations, repairs and capital improvements brought to the Project by its new owners:
Increased production by 51% using the same amount of water through the same facility. This increase was verified by the State Of Rhode Island for 51% of capacity awarded Class 1 Renewable Energy Credits. Stabilized a bankrupt business Increased the value of a reliable tax revenue for the town of Ware.
· Improved public safety through construction and maintenance of civil works.
Committed to "run of river operations" and improved fish and wildlife habitat. Maintained an impeccable FERC and stakeholder compliance record.
The Pioneer Hydroelectric Company Project consists of two dams, Ware Upper and Lower. Ware Upper houses turbines 1, 2, 4 and 5, Ware Lower houses turbine 3. Turbine 4 and 5 on the upper dam and Turbine 3 on the lower dam are controlled automatically with direct pond leveling controls. Minimum stream flow is met at the upper dam by a 10'x12" opening in the upper flashboards that is monitored by pond leveling sensors that controls turbine actuation. In case of low pond level an automatic dialer notifies operators via cell and pager communications of a low pond level scenario. If response is not delivered manually, the facility trips offline before a violation of minimum stream flow occurs. Minimum stream flow in the upper project reach area is 20cfs. The lower dam has no minimum stream flow, as its discharge is directly at the foot of the dam and it has no reach area. The lower dam is "run of river" at all times and has shutdown protection if water gets below dam crest.
We encourage public comments on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think these projects meet our LIHI criteria. Review the program and criteria in greater detail and then review the Projects' application. Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered.
Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail (preferred) at firstname.lastname@example.org with " Pioneer Hydro Project comments" in the subject line; by fax at (206) – 984-3086; or by mail addressed to LIHI, 34 Providence Street, Portland, ME, 04103. Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on October 24, 2009 to be considered. All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond. Any response will also be posted.
ISSUE UPDATE - January 5, 2010 - After much discussion between the Applicant and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game have discussed a possible resolution based on increasing minimum stream flow. The particulars of this potential agreement are described in the December 10, 2009 letter to LIHI from Lucas Wright. (see Below @ Flow Resolution Ware River 12-10-09.pdf).
COMMENT RECEIVED - On October 23, 2009 LIHI received a comment in opposition to certification of the Ware River Project from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. To see the comment scroll to the bottom of this page.
(October 23, 2009) - LIHI received the following comment from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game:
October 23, 2009
Mr. Fred Ayer, Executive Director
Low Impact Hydropower Institute
34 Providence Street
RE: Ware River Power Project
FERC No. P-3127
Dear Mr. Ayer:
The Department of Fish and Game ("DFG") hereby submits the following comments on the Low Impact Hydropower Institute's ("LIHI") Pending Application for the proposed LIHI certification of the Ware River Power Project FERC No P-3127 located on the Ware River, in Ware, Massachusetts.
DFG is submitting these comments to LIHI in order to fulfill the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources ("DOER") Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Regulations (225 CMR 14.00; "RPS I" and 225 CMR 15.00; "RPS II"). The RPS I and RPS II regulations were promulgated by DOER on January 1, 2009 and require that any hydroelectric project wishing to qualify as either a RPS I or RPS II generator first obtain LIHI certification. These regulations also require all relevant regulatory agencies to comment on the pending LIHI application.
Project consists of two dams, Ware Upper (34 feet high) and Lower (16 Feet high).
The ¼ mile segment of the river between the upper and lower dams is a bypassed reach which receives a minimum flow of 20 cfs.
The project will be operated strictly as a run-of-river facility.
FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES
TheWare River supports fish and aquatic resources, including a number of resident fish species.
The Division does not believe that any project that includes a long bypass reach (1/4 mile in this case) is "low Impact".
Bypass Reach Flows
The minimum flow in the project bypass reach (20 cfs) is significantly below both the August mean flow (Estimated at 104 cfs: the Aug. mean flow at the Ware River USGS gage for the period of record is 122 cfs for 197 sq. mi. drainage area. The drainage area at the dam is 169 sq. mi. for a factor of .85 and 122*.85= 104) and the Aquatic Base Flow at the dam, 84 cfs (ABF=0.5 cfs*sq. mi.).
The applicant proposes to operate the project in a true run-of-river mode, with inflow equal to outflow on an instantaneous basis. Maintaining natural flow through the project will protect the existing habitat which benefits fish and wildlife species. Downstream habitats will also benefit from run-of-river operation. The resulting stable flow regime will support the riverine assemblage in the free-flowing sections of river below the project.
For the reasons stated above, DFG does not believe that the Ware River Project should be certified as "Low Impact".
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
Caleb Slater, Ph.D.
Anadromous Fish Project Leader
Issue Update - See letter in Files (below) Flow Resolution Ware River 12-10-09.pdf
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