FERC rejects app for another permit on Mississippi River hydro project

Saying that not enough had been done under the prior preliminary permit, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 20 rejected a Jan. 20 application from Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund IV for a successive preliminary permit.

Such a permit allows the company to study the feasibility of the proposed USACE MSR LD 17 Project, to be located at the existing Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 17 on the Mississippi River, near the City of New Boston, in Mercer County, Illinois and Louisa County, Iowa. The Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 17 is owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The proposed project would consist of: three new 109-foot-wide by 40-foot-high steel lock frame modules each containing ten 650-kW hydropower turbines having a total combined generating capacity of 19.5 MW; one new 109-foot-wide and one new 220-foot-wide tailrace extending 75-150 feet downstream; a new 25-foot by 50-foot switchyard; a new intake structure of undetermined size; and a new 6-mile-long, 69-kV transmission line. The project would have an estimated annual generation of 119,655 megawatt-hours.

In November 2011, commission staff issued Hydro Friends a three-year preliminary permit for the project. The permit required that Hydro Friends file timely six-month progress reports. This permit expired on Oct. 31, 2014.

Said the April 20 FERC order: “A review of the record indicates that Hydro Friends’ pursuit of project development during the term of its preliminary permit does not warrant a successive permit. A review of the progress reports indicate that, over the three-year permit term, Hydro Friends has made very little progress toward the filing of a development application. Further, all but one of the six-month progress reports were filed late and on two occasions the Commission staff issued probable cancellation warning letters due to failure to timely file progress reports.”

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.