Hydro Green’s Braddock hydropower project wins a permitting approval

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said in a notice in the Feb. 28 Pennsylvania Bulletin that Hydro Green Energy LLC of Westmont, Ill., has won a water permitting approval for a hydroelectric project in Allegheny County, Pa.

The company has “been given consent to construct and maintain a modular hydropower facility, at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Braddock Locks and Dam, in the Monongahela River (WWF, N),” said the brief notice. “The project will be located opposite the existing lock chambers, and within the existing footprint of the dam, and will consist of a new 105 lf long by 22 lf wide steel frame powerhouse with seven turbine generators, a switchyard and control room, trash rack, and a distribution level power line. The project will permanently impact 0.053 acre of the Monongahela River and its floodway. The project is located along the left descending bank of the Monongahela River (USGS Quadrangle: Braddock, PA; Latitude: 40° 23` 21″; Longitude: -79° 51` 28″), at river mile 11.3, in West Mifflin Borough, Allegheny County.”

Hydro Green Energy (HGE), on behalf of Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund XLII LLC (HFF), in a Feb. 18 letter urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take expedited action on a license order issuance for the Braddock Locks & Dam Hydropower Project because of issues with possible U.S. Department of Energy support for the project. On Feb. 10, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued the Section 401 Water Quality Permit for the project, the filing at FERC said.

Hydro Green Energy on behalf of HFF has applied for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program for the project. Of the five named eligible project types in the solicitation, one has to do with incorporation of power production into currently non-powered dams.

“It is apparent that DOE wants to aid projects with new technologies like [Braddock],” the company wrote. “On January 21, 2015 HGE was notified by DOE that the Phase 1 submission had been approved and HGE was invited to make a Phase 2 submission on or before March 2, 2015. As you may be aware, the Phase 1 submission carried a $50,000 non-refundable application fee. The Phase 2 submission will require another non-refundable $100,000 application fee. A primary component of DOE’s assessment process is the Commercial Readiness Level (CRL). Part of the CRL assessment is the completeness of permits and licenses. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of submitting the Issued License Order with the Phase 2 application on or before March 2, 2015. For all reasons mentioned above, HGE on behalf of HFF respectfully requests that the Commission issue the License Order as expeditiously as possible.”

Hydro Friends proposes to construct: a powerhouse with seven turbine-generators at the left closure weir on the south side of the existing Braddock Locks and Dam, having a total installed capacity of 5.25 MW; a 0.45-mile-long, 23-kV transmission line; and a switchyard and control room. The project’s average annual generation is expected to be 32,263 megawatt-hours (MWh).

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.