FERC takes comment on enviro review for six Ohio hydroelectric projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects on Aug. 27 issued a draft environmental assessment covering six license applications for small hydroelectric projects in Ohio, and will take public comment on the draft for 30 days.

The proposed projects, being pursued by project affiliates of Boston-based Free Flow Power, would be located on the Muskingum River in Ohio. The projects would be located at existing dams owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. FERC staff prepared this multi-project environmental assessment (EA) in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In October 2012, applications were filed with FERC for the construction and operation of these six hydropower projects:

  • Clean River Power MR-7 LLC’s proposed 3-MW Philo Lock and Dam Water Power Project would be located at river mile (RM) 68.3 in Muskingum County, Ohio.
  • Clean River Power MR-6 LLC’s proposed 4‑MW Rokeby Lock and Dam Water Power Project would be located at RM 57.4 in Muskingum and Morgan Counties, Ohio.
  • Clean River Power MR-5 LLC’s 4‑MW Malta/McConnelsville Lock and Dam Water Power Project would be located at RM 49.4 in Morgan County, Ohio.
  • Clean River Power MR-3 LLC’s proposed 3‑MW Beverly Lock and Dam Water Power Project would be located at RM 25.1 in Washington and Morgan counties, Ohio.
  • Clean River Power MR-2 LLC’s proposed 5‑MW Lowell Lock and Dam Water Power Project would be located at RM 14.2 in Washington County.
  • Clean River Power MR-1 LLC’s proposed 4‑MW Devola Lock and Dam Water Power Project would be located at RM 5.8 in Washington County, Ohio.

The projects would be located at six of the ten existing locks and dams that comprise the Muskingum River Waterway system. The state of Ohio completed construction of the waterway system in 1841 for commercial navigation purposes and operated them until 1886. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then operated the locks and dams for commercial navigation until 1952. In 1958, Ohio DNR took control and now operates the facilities solely for recreational navigation along the Muskingum River.

“The six Muskingum River Projects would provide hydroelectric generation to meet part of Ohio’s power requirements, resource diversity, and capacity needs,” the draft EA noted. “The projects would have a combined installed capacity of 23 MW and over the term of the licenses generate an average of about 124,613 MWh per year.

“The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) annually forecasts electrical supply and demand nationally and regionally for a 10-year period. The Muskingum River Projects are located within the jurisdiction of the PJM Interconnection LLC (PJM), a subregion of the Reliability First Corporation, a region of the NERC. PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. According to NERC’s most recent (2014) forecast, summer peak load growth for the PJM-RTO is projected to grow from 0.4 to 1.8 percent for individual zones over the next 10 years.

“We conclude that power from the Muskingum River Projects would help meet a need for power in the PJM subregion in both the short- and long-term. The projects would provide power that could displace non-renewable, fossil-fired generation and contribute to a diversified generation mix. Displacing the operation of non-renewable facilities may avoid some power plant emissions and create an environmental benefit.”

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.