FERC issues licenses for small hydroelectric projects in Kentucky

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Dec. 21 approved a May 2012 application from Lock 14 Hydro Partners LLC for an original license to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed Heidelberg Hydroelectric Project.

The project will be located at the Kentucky River Authority’s Lock and Dam No. 14 on the Kentucky River, near the town of Heidelberg, in Lee County, Kentucky. The project’s authorized capacity being licensed is 2.64 MW.

A multi-project Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared by commission staff and issued on Feb. 24, 2015, analyzing the effects of, and alternatives to, the proposed Heidelberg Project and proposed Ravenna Hydroelectric Project.

The proposed Heidelberg Project will be located in the Kentucky River Basin in northeastern Kentucky. The Kentucky River flows approximately 265 miles northwesterly from Beattyville, Kentucky to Carrolton, Kentucky where it joins the Ohio River. The river drains an area of about 6,970 square miles. The Kentucky River was historically used for navigation by the Corps, with a system of 14 locks and dams, but due to width and depth limitations, the locks and dams no longer perform a navigation purpose for the Corps. Lock and Dam Nos. 1-4 are currently operated by the Kentucky River Authority under a lease agreement with the Corps, and Lock and Dam Nos. 5-14 have been conveyed to the Kentucky River Authority for domestic water supply and recreation.

Within the lock structure, Lock 14 Hydro plans to construct a new 72-foot-long, 52-foot-wide, 95.5-foot-high concrete powerhouse containing four 660-kW Kaplan turbine/generator units with a total capacity of 2.64 MW. The project will transmit power through a 1,000-foot-long, 12.47-kV overhead transmission line connecting to an existing 12.47-kV distribution line owned by Jackson Energy Cooperative.

Lock 14 Hydro proposes to operate the project in a run-of-river mode, using flows between 150 and 2,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) for power generation. Flows in excess of the turbines’ hydraulic capacity will spill over the dam. The project will generate about 10,484 MWh annually.

FERC on Dec. 21 also granted a license based on a May 2012 application from Lock 12 Hydro Partners LLC to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed Ravenna Hydroelectric Project. The project will be located at the Kentucky River Authority’s Lock and Dam No. 12 on the Kentucky River, near the Town of Ravenna, in Estill County. The project’s authorized capacity being licensed is 2.64 MW.

The project will, in part, consist of the existing 240-foot-long by 17-foot-high concrete gravity spillway Dam No. 12, which has a crest elevation of 599.6 feet and impounds a 345-acre reservoir with a gross storage capacity of about 3,450 acre-feet. Located on the right side of the dam is the existing 148-foot-long by 52-foot-wide navigation lock, and an existing 236-foot-long earthen dike that tapers down from a 10.75-foot maximum height to ground level.

Under “normal” conditions, flow spills over the entire 240-foot-long concrete gravity structure at a gross head of up to 17 feet between the reservoir and the downstream Kentucky River. At a 100-year flood level, the reservoir surface is at elevation 631.45 feet, resulting in no gross head between the reservoir and downstream Kentucky River (i.e., the entire 240-foot-long gravity structure is completely submerged).

Lock 12 Hydro proposes to utilize all of the existing lock and dam facilities and other features discussed above, but would remove the existing concrete bulkhead such that water flows into the existing lock structure and around the project dam. Within the lock structure, Lock 12 Hydro plans to construct a new 72-foot-long, 52-foot-wide, 95.5- foot-high concrete powerhouse containing four 660-kW Kaplan turbine/generator units with a total capacity of 2.64 MW.

The project will transmit power through a 1,500-foot-long, 12.47-kV overhead transmission line connecting to an existing 12.47-kV distribution line owned by Jackson Energy Cooperative.

Lock 12 Hydro proposes to operate the project in a run-of-river mode, using flows between 150 and 2,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) for power generation. Flows in excess of the turbines’ hydraulic capacity will spill over the dam. The project will generate about 10,673 MWh annually.

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.