Two companies seek permits for small hydroelectric projects in New York

Two related companies, Empire State Hydro 303 LLC and Empire State Hydro 305 LLC, applied Aug. 26 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for preliminary permits that would them three years of exclusivity to look at the feasibility of two small hydroelectric projects in New York.

Empire State Hydro 303 applied for the proposed Rock Bottom Dam Hydroelectric Project, located in Broome County. The project is located at the Rock Bottom Dam located on the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, N.Y. The dam is owned by the City of Binghamton and used to maintain the water surface elevation required for city water supply withdrawal.

The Rock Bottom Dam is approximately 9 feet high and 460 feet long gravity structure. The majority of the dam, approximately 400 feet is uncontrolled overflow spillway. The dam is currently classified as a low hazard structure.

A concrete powerhouse will be located on the left side of the river. It will be about 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. A new intake structure will be constructed upstream of the turbines and include gates for water control. Each intake bay will be approximately 10 feet wide and 10 feet high. Due to the low head available, eight low-profile horizontal bulb turbines will be installed. To maximize the available head, a tailrace wall will be constructed to separate the turbine discharge from the main river channel. The wall will be constructed of concrete and extend approximately 100 ft downstream of the dam.

The eight horizontal bulb turbines will have a maximum output of about 249 kW each, resulting in a maximum project output of 1,992 kW. It is estimated that the project will produce an average annual energy generation of about 10 MWh/yr. The system will operate strictly in “Run-of-the-river” mode for environmental protection. The exact type, number, capacity, and arrangement of the turbine units and proposed structures may be modified after further engineering, design study, and consultation with resource agencies.

The project will include a new 500-foot-long, 12.7-kV transmission line. The project may be interconnected with the local electricity service provider or may be sold directly to an end user; this will be evaluated during the study period.

Other project involves rehab of existing facilities

Empire State Hydro 305 is seeking a preliminary permit for the proposed Texaco Dam Hydroelectric Project, located at the Texaco Dam on the Fishkill River in Fishkill, N.Y.

The Texaco Dam is about 22 feet high and 205 feet long constructed of masonry and concrete. The majority of the dam, around 185 feet is uncontrolled overflow spillway. An existing intake structure which conveys flow to a penstock is located on the right abutment. The intake structure is approximately 30 feet wide and angled toward the river. The penstock diameter is about 4-5 feet diameter and conveys water into an existing powerhouse. The powerhouse is located immediately downstream of the dam on the right embankment and is contained within an existing mill building.

The powerhouse is located within and adjacent to the Texaco Beacon Research Center. The Research Center is in the middle of a multi-year cleanup process which includes demolition of most of the buildings. The proposed Texaco Dam Hydropower Project intends to utilize the existing hydropower infrastructure to the extent possible including the intake structure, penstock, powerhouse and tailrace.

The Texaco Dam Hydroelectric Project will consist of two vertical Kaplan turbines with a maximum output of about 225 kW each, resulting in a maximum output of 450 kW. It is estimated that the site will produce an average annual energy generation of 1.5 MWh/yr. The system will operate strictly in “Run-of-the-river” mode. The exact type, number, capacity, and arrangement of the turbine units and proposed structures may be modified after further engineering, design study, and consultation with resource agencies.

The project will include a new 500-foot-long, 12.7-kV transmission line. The project may be interconnected with the local electricity service provider or may be sold directly to an end user; this will be evaluated during the study period.

The contact information for both companies is: c/o Gravity Renewables Inc., 1401 Walnut Street, Suite 220, Boulder, CO, 80302, 303.440.3378 phone, 303.420.9956 fax, info@gravityrenewables.com.

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.