FERC refuses to extend permit for small hydroelectric project in New Hampshire

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 15 rejected a March 27 application from KC Hydro LLC of New Hampshire for a two-year extension of its preliminary permit for the proposed Pittsfield Mill Dam Hydropower Project.

The proposed project would be located at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service’s Pittsfield Mill dam on the Suncook River in the town of Pittsfield, Merrimack County, New Hampshire.

In May 2012, commission staff issued KC Hydro a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the proposed Pittsfield Project. The project would consist of: the existing 470-foot-long, 16-foot-high Pittsfield Mill dam that includes a 159-foot-long spillway equipped with two gates and two stop log bays; an existing 20-acre impoundment with 112-acre-feet of storage capacity at a dam spillway crest elevation of 474.5 feet above mean sea level; a new powerhouse containing two generating units with a total installed capacity of 530 kW; a new 100-foot-long tailrace; and a new 500-foot-long transmission line. The proposed project would have an estimated annual generation of 2.12 gigawatt-hours.

On March 27, KC Hydro filed a timely request for a two-year extension of its preliminary permit term, which is due to expire on April 30, 2015. On April 14, AMENICO Green Solutions LLC filed comments on KC Hydro’s request for a two-year extension asking the commission to deny the extension because KC Hydro did not carry out activities under its existing permit in good faith and with reasonable diligence.

AMENICO owns property adjacent to the Suncook River that includes a powerhouse with an existing 415-kW turbine generating unit. In 2012, AMENICO filed a competing application for a preliminary permit at the site; however, because KC Hydro was the first-filed preliminary permit application, the preliminary permit was issued to KC Hydro.

Said the April 15 FERC rejection order: “Based on staff’s review of the request for extension, as well as the five progress reports submitted under the preliminary permit, KC Hydro has not demonstrated that it has carried out activities under the permit with reasonable diligence. The progress reports do not contain sufficient evidence of agency consultation, studies performed, or other specific information evidencing progress toward the development of a license or exemption application for the proposed project.”

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.