The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking 30 days of public comment starting Sept. 27 on a draft environmental assessment for an expanded hydroelectric plant proposed by the town of Stuyvesant, N.Y., and Albany Engineering Corp.
Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and FERC’s regulations, the commission’s Office of Energy Projects has reviewed the application for a new license for the 4,320-kW Stuyvesant Falls Hydroelectric Project located on Kinderhook Creek in Columbia County, N.Y., and prepared the draft environmental assessment. In the draft EA, commission staff analyzes the potential environmental effects of relicensing the project and concludes that issuing a new license for the project, with appropriate environmental measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.
In July 2009, the town of Stuyvesant and Albany Engineering filed an application for a new license to operate and maintain the Stuyvesant Falls Hydroelectric Project and increase its installed capacity from 2,800 kW to 4,320 kW. The existing facility has not operated since October 1993, and all river flow has been passing over the project dam and into the main channel of Kinderhook Creek, the EA noted. Stuyvesant and Albany are restoring the project to operation.
The project includes a 46-acre impoundment and uses the head created by the 13-foot-high Stuyvesant Falls dam and consists of: a stone, concrete, and steel intake structure with a Taintor gate, trash sluice, and trash rack; two 7.5-foot-diameter, 2,860-foot long, riveted-steel penstocks that bypass the main channel of Kinderhook Creek and direct flow to the steel and brick powerhouse; two single-runner Francis turbines (each with a nameplate capacity of 4,511 kW) connected to two 2,100-kW generators; and a substation located adjacent to the powerhouse.
Stuyvesant and Albany Engineering propose to operate both generating units in the powerhouse, and construct and operate a minimum flow unit at the project intake, for a total installed capacity of 4,320 kW. Stuyvesant and Albany propose to operate it in an “automated run-of-river” mode.
The facility ceased operation in October 1993 due to excessive leakage in the penstocks. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., the previous licensee, surrendered the project license in May 1998. The commission reinstated the license to the town of Stuyvesant and Stuyvesant Falls Hydro Corp. in December 2003, and transferred the license to the town of Stuyvesant and Albany as co-licensees in December 2006, the draft EA noted.