LIHI Certificate #7 - Beaver River Project, Beaver River, New York, (FERC #2645)

Harrington Park, New Jersey (November 18, 2013) - The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received an application for Re-Certification of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group's Beaver River Project.  The 2013 application was received on August 5, but because of administrative backlog, the Certificate has been granted a 6 month extension beyond the expiration date of July 16, 2013 by the Institute for review of this application by Executive Director, Mike Sale.

The Beaver River Project consists of eight hydroelectric developments along the Beaver River in Lewis and Herkimer Counties, New York State.  The developments are operated in a coordinated manner as store-and-release facilities primarily to meet peak demand.

Flows reaching the Project are controlled by releases from the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District’s (Hudson-Black) Stillwater Reservoir Project No. 6743, located approximately five miles upstream of the most upstream Beaver River Project development, Moshier. The Project was constructed between 1903 and 1930. Four of the developments (Moshier, Eagle, Soft Maple and Taylorville) have extensive bypassed reaches. These range from about 3,850 feet at Eagle to over 11,700 feet at Moshier.

The eight hydropower dams and powerhouses that comprise Erie’s Beaver River Project are located in the Towns of Croghan and Watson in Lewis County and in the Town of Webb in Herkimer County, New York. Progressing downstream these are the Moshier (RM 29.9), Eagle (23.0), Soft Maple (RM 21.0), Effley (RM 16.9), Elmer (RM 16.2), Taylorville (RM 14.8), Belfort (RM 13.5) and High Falls (RM 11.0) developments.

We encourage public comments on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Beaver River Hydroelectric Project continues to meet our LIHI criteria.  Please review the program and criteria in greater detail and then review the Beaver River 2013 application posted below.  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 at dhall@lowimpacthydro.org with “Beaver River Hydroelectric Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, PO Box 194, Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640.  Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on January 18, 2014 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.

Portland, ME - (August 28, 2008) - The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that at their August 28, 2008 Board Meeting, the Beaver River Project earned renewal of LIHI's Low Impact Certification. The Beaver River Project continues to meet LIHI's eight environmentally rigorous Low Impact criteria addressing river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether or not the dam itself has been recommended for removal. The Beaver River Project successfully completed LIHI's application process, which includes a public comment period, review by an independent technical consultant, consultations with state and federal natural resource agencies, and evaluation by the LIHI Governing Board, including leaders in the river conservation and renewable energy fields.

Brookfield Renewable Power, applied for re-certification of their Beaver River Project (FERC 2645) and LIHI Certificate No. 7. Under the original LIHI Certification awarded in 2003, the FERC Licensee was Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. and the owner was Reliant Energy. The Project was previously owned by the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation.Today, the project is owned by Brookfield and the FERC Licensee remains Erie.Resource agencies, both during the time of licensing and more recently, have commended the Beaver River project for its compliance with agency recommendations. The Board's vote to re-certify Beaver River Project was unanimous.

***

PORTLAND, ME – (July 16, 2003)—The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that the Beaver River Hydroelectric Project located on the Beaver River in New York became the first hydropower facility in that state to earn LIHI's Low Impact Hydropower Facility certification (and the seventh nationwide). The voluntary certification program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low impact hydropower facilities for emerging "green" energy markets.

The Beaver River Project is located in upstate New York northeast of Syracuse. The Beaver River is a tributary to the Black River, which flows into Lake Ontario. The Project was previously owned by the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation.

The Beaver River Project consists of eight developments licensed together as one project. The developments were constructed between 1898 and 1930. The Project has an installed capacity of 44.8 megawatts, and produces an average annual generation of 197,285 megawatt-hours. The eight developments, operated in a peaking mode (water is stored and released in accordance with energy needs, subject to restrictions for environmental protection), consist of the following: Moshier, Eagle, Soft Maple, Effley, Elmer, Taylorville, Belfort, and High Falls.

The project was relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 1996 based on a comprehensive settlement agreement negotiated by the then project owner Niagara Mohawk, state and federal resource agencies, and environmental organizations. Resource agencies signing the settlement include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Conservation Council, and the Adirondack Park Agency. Environmental organizations that participated and signed the settlement agreement include American Rivers, New York Rivers United, American Whitewater, National Audubon Society, Trout Unlimited New York State Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, American Canoe Association, the Adirondack Council, and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

The Beaver River Project meets LIHI's eight environmentally rigorous Low Impact criteria addressing river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether or not the dam itself has been recommended for removal. Beaver River successfully completed LIHI's application process, which includes a public comment period, review by an independent technical consultant, consultations with state and federal natural resource agencies, and evaluation by the LIHI Governing Board, including leaders in the river conservation and renewable energy fields. The Board's vote to certify Beaver River was unanimous.

"We take great pleasure in certifying this facility and congratulate Reliant for being the first New York hydropower project to receive LIHI certification," said Richard Roos-Collins, chair of LIHI's Governing Board. "This decision should send a clear message that even multiple dam hydropower facilities with complex configurations can operate with low impacts to key natural resources, and at the same time offer enhanced value to shareholders and customers alike."

SUMMARY

Facility location: Beaver River, New York

Installed capacity: 44.8 MW total from 8 individual facilities (dam/powerhouse combinations)

Average annual generation: 197,285 megawatt hours

FERC license: issued 1996 (relicensed via a collaboratively developed agreement)

Applicant: Erie Boulevard Hydropower, LP

Applicant contact: Mr. Sam S. Hirschey, P.E., telephone (315) 413-2790

Date application posted to website: March 20, 2003

Date public comment period closed: May 19, 2003

Date certification decision effective: July 24, 2003

CERTIFICATION APPLICATION

On March 20, 2003, Erie Boulevard LP (Reliant Energy and now Brascann) submitted a consolidated application for certification of its Beaver River Hydroelectric Project. The Beaver River project is located in upstate New York northeast of Syracuse. The Beaver River is a tributary to the Black River, which flows into Lake Ontario. The Beaver River project was previously owned by the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation.

The Beaver River project is comprised of eight facilities operated and licensed together as one project. The eight facilities, from upstream to downstream are:

Moshier--8 MW, 340 surface acre reservoir located approximately 29 miles above the confluence with the Black River

Eagle--6 MW, 138 surface acres

Soft Maple--15 MW, 400 surface acres

Effley--3 MW, 340 surface acres

Elmer--1.5 MW, 34 surface acres

Taylorville--4.65 MW, 170 surface acres

Belfort--2MW, 50 surface acres

High Falls -- 4.7 MW, 145 surface acres located approximately 11 miles above the confluence with the Black River.

Moshier, Eagle, and most of the Soft Maple facility are within the Adirondack Park boundary. Upstream of the Beaver Project is Stillwater Reservoir, operated by the Hudson River Black River Regulating District. The Beaver project is operated in a peaking mode (water is stored and released in accordance with energy needs, subject to restrictions for environmental protection). Additional details about each of the facilities (including dam height, bypassed reach length, etc) is contained in the application for certification.

The project was relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 1996 based on a comprehensive settlement agreement negotiated by the (then) project owner Niagara Mohawk, state and federal resource agencies, and environmental organizations. Resource agencies signing the settlement include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Conservation Council, and the Adirondack Park Agency. Environmental organizations that participated and signed the settlement agreement include American Rivers, New York Rivers United, American Whitewater, National Audubon Society, Trout Unlimited New York State Council, Adirondack Moutain Club, American Canoe Association, the Adirondack Council, and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

The agreement provides for various mitigation measures and operating conditions for the new license term. Among other things, it requires minimum instream flows for bypassed reaches, flows for whitewater boating, and new release structures to help provide downstream passage for locally migratory fish species.

CERTIFICATION DECISION

On July 24, 2003, the Institute's Governing Board determined that the Beaver River Project, FERC No. 2645, meets the Low Impact Hydropower Certification Criteria.

In reaching its decision to certify the Beaver River Project, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute's Governing Board reviewed the application for certification, as well as the Application Reviewer's report and the Staff report. Both the Staff and Application Reviewer recommended certification contingent on completion of the land transfers and easements as provided by the Settlement Agreement, and thus effective on the date the transactions are completed. Copies of both the staff report and the Application Reviewer's are available on the LIHI website.

After receiving an update from the Application Reviewer and Staff on the status of the land transfer, the Governing Board certified the Project effective on receipt of an adequate assurance of completion of the land transfers and easements as provided by the Settlement Agreement. The Governing Board understands that the New York Attorney General's certification of these transactions will occur at an unknown date. Accordingly, it required two items as conditions precedent to the effectiveness of the LIHI certification:

First, Reliant must sign a purchase-and-sale agreement consistent with the applicable terms of the Settlement Agreement.

Second, Reliant must obtain documentation from NYDEC confirming that the signed purchase-and-sale agreement satisfies Reliant's obligations in this matter.

The Board's vote to certify the Beaver River Project as a Low Impact facility was unanimous. There were no public commenters on the application, and therefore no party eligible to appeal the facility's certification.

Certification became effective July 24, 2003 when the NYDEC confirmed that the land transfer had met the terms of the settlement agreement.

The certification of the Beaver River Project facility is valid for five years and will expire July 24, 2008.


Comments:

Comment Letter from JoEllen Murata 9-9-13


Files:

FERC License No. 2645-029, August 2, 1996
Reviewer Report 2003
Reviewer Report 2008
2008 Application
Brookfield Application Statement 2013
Attachment A - 2013 Application
Attachment B - 2013 Application
Attachment C - 2013 Application
Attachments D to E - 2013 Application
Attachment F - 2013 Application
Attachments H to K part one
Attachments H to K part two
Belfort Questionnaire 2013
Eager Questionnaire 2013
Effley Questionnaire 2013
Elmer Questionnaire 2013
High Falls Questionnaire 2013
Moshier Questionnaire 2013
Soft Maple Questionnaire 2013
Taylorville Questionnaire 2013
 
 

© The Low Impact Hydropower Institute * | Think Web Technology, LLC web development and seo