Free Flow Power affiliate wins permit for Ohio River hydro project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a Sept. 17 order declared an affiliate of Boston-based developer Free Flow Power as the winner of a preliminary permit for a hydroelectric project on the Ohio River.

On March 1, at 8:30 a.m., the commission received two preliminary permit applications to study the feasibility of projects located at the existing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New Cumberland Locks and Dam, on the Ohio River, near the town of New Cumberland, Hancock County, W.Va., and Jefferson County, Ohio. The applications were filed by FFP Project 121 LLC for Project No. 14504 and Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund XXX LLC (Lock+) for Project No. 13625.

  • FFP’s proposed project would include: three new 16.6-MW horizontal bulb turbine-generators having a total combined generating capacity of 49.8 MW; a new 60-foot-wide by 60-foot-long substation; and a new 0.8-mile-long, 36.7-kV transmission line.  The project would have an estimated annual generation of 251,600 megawatt-hours.
  • Lock+’s application was for a successive preliminary permit. Its proposed project would include: one new approximately 260-foot-wide, 56-foot-high lock frame module, containing 17 turbines each having a nameplate capacity of 1.5 MW, with a total installed capacity of 25.5 MW; a new switchyard, transformer, and control room; and a new approximately 2,000-foot-long, 69-kV transmission line from the new switchyard to an existing distribution line. The project would have an estimated annual generation of 145,850 megawatt-hours.

On Aug. 7, the commission issued a notice of a random drawing to be held to establish priority between the two applicants to be used in the event that the commission concluded that one applicant’s plans are not better adapted than the other.  The drawing was held on Aug. 21, with the following order of priority: FFP Project 121 LLC first, and Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund XXX in second.

FERC noted that Lock+ had previously held a preliminary permit for this site under Project No. 13625-000. The commission will consider granting a successive permit if it concludes that the applicant has pursued the requirements of its prior permit in good faith and with due diligence. Lock+ has provided the commission with information that demonstrates it has made progress under its prior permit term with the analysis of the project’s feasibility and towards the development of this project, FERC pointed out.

FERC staff has reviewed the applications and found no basis for concluding that either applicant’s plan is superior to the other. Neither applicant has presented a plan based on detailed studies or the results of agency consultation. Where the plans of the applicants are equally well adapted to develop, conserve, and utilize in the public interest the water resources of the region, the commission said it will favor the applicant with the earliest application acceptance date. Because two applications had the same filing time, the commission determined priority through the random drawing. “Based on the results of the drawing, the preliminary permit is issued to FFP Project 121, LLC,” said the Sept. 17 order.

The permit gives FFP Project 121 a three-year exclusive right to look at project feasbility, with a license application needed at FERC if the decision is to move forward with project development.

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.