FERC rejects rehearing request related to North Carolina hydro project

Saying it was late to the game, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 19 rejected a rehearing request from New Energy Capital Partners LLC on a FERC decision to issue a new license for a hydroelectric facility in North Carolina.

On June 27, New Energy Capital Partners had filed a request for rehearing of the commission’s May 30 notice denying its motion for late intervention in the relicense proceeding for the 210-MW Yadkin Hydroelectric Project. The project is located on the Yadkin River in North Carolina.

In September 2002, Alcoa Power Generating filed its Initial Consultation Document for the relicensing of the Yadkin Project, beginning its pre-filing license application process. In April 2006, Alcoa Power filed its new license application with the commission. New Energy did not file any comments in response to the notices of the application, a later settlement agreement, or a draft environmental impact statement for this relicensing, FERC noted.

On April 30,, almost six years after the last deadline for filing motions to intervene, New Energy filed a request to reopen the record or, in the alternative, intervene late in the relicensing proceeding. New Energy argued that it had good cause to intervene late because its interest did not arise until the occurrence of certain events between March and December 2010. New Energy alleged that these events provided evidence that Alcoa Power was going to sell the project’s power in the wholesale market rather than using it to supply local businesses.

On May 30, the commission’s Secretary denied New Energy’s motion for late intervention, finding that the events identified by New Energy were not sufficient to show good cause for intervening late. In addition, the notice explained that, even assuming the events cited by New Energy could demonstrate good cause, New Energy had offered no credible reason for waiting over two years from the last of those events to file its motion for late intervention.

In its Sept. 19 decision, the commission ruled in part that New Energy had ample notice prior to the November 2007 deadline for intervening that Alcoa was considering closing the Badin Works smelting plant, the primary customer for power from the Yadkin Project, and instead selling its power into the wholesale market. Yet, New Energy chose to “sleep on its rights,” waiting some six years before seeking untimely intervention, the decision added. “For the reasons discussed above, we find that New Energy has not demonstrated good cause why the time limit should be waived,” it added. “We accordingly deny rehearing on this issue.”

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.