FERC rejects permit app for Mississippi River hydro project

Citing issues raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 5 rejected a June 2014 application from Symphony Hydro LLC for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the Symphony Hydro Project, to be located at the Corps’ Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The proposed project would utilize the existing Corps Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and would consist of: two new 1.5-foot-thick by 56-foot-wide by 60-foot-high reinforced concrete bulkheads containing two variable speed 1,700-kW turbine and generator units mounted on roller frames for a combined nameplate capacity of 3.4 MW located inside the lock chamber at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam; two 6-foot-square pad-mounted metal boxes, one containing plant controls and the other containing a 13.8-kV step-up distribution transformer; and a 13.8-kV transmission line. The estimated annual generation of the Symphony Hydro Project would be 18,000 megawatt-hours.

The Corps said this project would interfere too much with its operations, prompting FERC to say in its Feb. 5 rejection order: “Because the Corps, which owns the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam and whose permission would be needed for the development of any project at those facilities, explicitly finds the proposed project to be incompatible with the statutorily authorized purpose of the lock and dam, it seems highly unlikely that Symphony Hydro would be able to perform any site-specific studies or take any significant steps toward developing a license application during the term of the preliminary permit. Accordingly, no purpose would be served by issuing a permit here.”

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.