FERC rejects permit application for 19-MW hydro project in Arkansas

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a Sept. 30 letter rejected an Aug. 26 application by Energy Resources USA Inc. for a preliminary permit on the Joe Hardin Lock and Dam Project in Arkansas, saying it conflicts with a preliminary permit application by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. for this same site that was filed before that.

A preliminary permit application is made in order that the applicant may secure and maintain priority of licensing for the project while obtaining the data and performing the acts required to determine the feasibility of the project and to support an application for license. The location of the proposed project is in Lincoln County, Arkansas, on the Arkansas River.

The location on the Arkansas River is at navigation mile 50, about 19 miles southeast of Pine Bluff. The project would utilize the existing dam that was authorized by Congress as part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System in the River and Harbor Act in 1946. The lock and dam was completed in 1968 and is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the purposes of navigation.

The Energy Resources USA project would include a new reinforced concrete powerhouse constructed downstream of the existing overflow bank adjacent to the right riverbank. The powerhouse will contain the turbine-generators, switchgear, controls, and ancillary systems, as well as shop and storage space. Four vertical Kaplan turbine-generators rated at 4.75 MW each would be installed under the Energy Resources USA plan for a total capacity of 19 MW.

On March 3, Arkansas Electric had filed the application for a preliminary permit that FERC decided has priority over the Energy Resources USA application. Its proposed project would have a total capacity of 48 MW and an estimated average annual generation of 155,000 megawatt-hours.