Two parties seek FERC permits at Corps dam on the Mississippi River

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took in two preliminary applications on July 23 for hydro projects at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam on the Mississippi River.

Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund III LLC, a wholly owned development subsidiary of Hydro Green Energy LLC, applied for a preliminary permit on a 75-MW project located at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Melvin Price Locks & Dam. The location of the proposed project is: St. Charles County, Mo. (hydropower plant);
 Madison County, Ill. (USACE dam and interconnection).

This application was made in order that the company can maintain priority of application for the 36-month term of the preliminary permit on a license for the project while obtaining the data and performing the acts required to support a license application.

The output from the uni-directional turbines will be generated by water diverted from the Mississippi River in into the new powerhouse. The project will operate in run-of-release mode.

The hydropower development will consist of a steel frame modular hydropower system with 50 hydropower turbines, which will be installed side by side into the weir west of the moveable gates. Each of the turbines will have a nameplate capacity of approximately 1.5 MW based on a recorded net head of 21 feet. The entire system of turbines should produce about 75 MW.

The project will not utilize or create reservoirs, only a conduit for a run-of-river facility. The project will utilize head created by the facilities existing at Melvin Price Locks & Dam.

The generated power will connect to the electric grid with the installation of a new transformer in a new switchyard. A new 69-kV or 115-kV transmission line will run approximately 4.8 miles to connect to an existing substation. The expected annual output of the project is 427,050 MWh.

Minnesota municipal agency seeks its own preliminary permit

Also on July 23, the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA), a municipal corporation and political subdivision of the state of Minnesota, filed a preliminary permit application for a proposed project to be placed immediately downstream of the existing Melvin Price Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River at river mile 200.78 beside Alton, Ill. The counties on either side of the dam are Madison County, Ill., and St. Charles County, Mo.

The proposed project from WMMPA would consist of installing micro-turbines in a steel structure immediately downstream of the existing tainter gates 4 through 9 (a total of 6 gates) that can be pivoted up out of the water during high flow conditions. The specific design and sizes of the micro-turbines will not be known until procurement since each manufacture has a standard size and KW rating. Therefore, the project rating will be based on an established flow and head condition.

The anticipated rated flow for each steel structure assembly with a set of micro-turbines will be an estimated 12,100 cubic feet per second (cfs), 72,600 cfs for all six steel structure assemblies with the micro-turbines. At the mean water head of 14.7 feet, each steel structure assembly would produce an estimated 15.5 MW for a project rated capacity of 93 MW. At the expected maximum operating head of 20 feet, the anticipated design flow would be 14,300 cfs per steel structure assembly and 85,800 cfs for all six steel structure assemblies. That would produce an estimated 24.9 MW per steel structure assembly, for a project total design of 149.4 MW. The expected average annual energy generation would be 445.4 GWh.

The proposed new transmission line would be about 1.07 miles long and will extend from the substation located next to the dam on the Missouri side of the river to an existing substation on the Illinois side of the river. The substation at the dam will increase the voltage from 13.8 kV to 138 kV.

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.