FERC seeks comment on 78-MW Red River Hydro project in La.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 12 went out for 30 days of public comment on a draft environmental assessment for a 78-MW hydro project to be located in Louisiana.

FERC’s Office of Energy Projects has reviewed Red River Hydro LLC’s May 2012 application for an original license for the Overton Lock and Dam Hydroelectric Project and has prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA). The project would be located on the Red River in Rapides Parish, La., at an existing lock and dam operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project, if licensed, would occupy a total of 38.7 acres of federal land.

The Overton Project, a run-of-release facility, would have an installed capacity of 78 MW and estimated annual generation of 255.7 gigawatt-hours.

The Overton Lock and Dam is one of five locks and dams on the Red River that are part of the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, which was authorized by Congress in 1968 to stabilize river banks, straighten river bends, and maintain a 9-foot-deep, 200-foot-wide channel for boat traffic. Overton Lock and Dam consists of a 104-foot-high by 914-foot-long concrete gravity dam with five 60-foot-wide Tainter gates and an 84-foot-wide by 685-foot-long navigation lock.

The Overton Project would use existing Overton Lock and Dam features along with the following new features:

  • a 615-foot-long by 165-foot-wide concrete-lined headrace fitted with a new 165-foot-wide by 87.5-foot-high trash rack with 4-inch-wide clear-spacing between the bars;
  • a 214-foot-long by 165-foot-wide by 98.5-foot-high concrete powerhouse located on the southwest bank of the river at the existing dam’s right abutment with three 26-MW turbine-generator units having a combined installed capacity of 78 MW;
  • three 117-foot-long by 48-foot-wide by 48-foot-high draft tubes that would convey water from the turbines;
  • a 450-foot-long by 165-foot-wide concrete-lined tailrace;
  • a 100-foot-by-100-foot switchyard; and
  • a 3.9-mile-long, 138-kV above-ground transmission line that would interconnect to an existing 138-kV distribution line owned and operated by Central Louisiana Electric.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) annually forecasts electrical supply and demand nationally and regionally for a 10-year period, the draft EA noted. The Overton Project would be located in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) region of NERC.
 According to NERC’s most recent 2012 forecast for the SPP region, total internal demand is projected to grow at an annual rate of about 1% from 2013 to 2022. NERC projects that resource capacity margins (generating capacity in excess of demand) would likely remain above target margins throughout the period.

“We conclude that power from the Overton Project would help meet a need for power in the SPP region in both the short and long term,” said the draft EA. “The project would provide power that could displace non-renewable, fossil fuel-fired generation and contribute to a diversified generation mix. Displacing the operation of non-renewable facilities may avoid some power plant emissions and create an environmental benefit.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.