FERC chooses Lock+ as winner for permits on Mississippi River hydro projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, faced with two competing applications for a preliminary permit at the same hydroelectric site on the Mississippi River, on Jan. 15 chose the first-filed application as the winner.

On July 20, 2015, Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund XI LLC (Hydro Friends) filed an application for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 Hydropower Project, to be located at the existing Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 25 on the Mississippi River, near the City of Winfield in Lincoln County, Missouri, and Calhoun County, Illinois.

On Sept. 2, 2015, Energy Resources USA Inc. filed an application for a competing preliminary permit for the Lock and Dam No. 25 Hydroelectric Project at the same site.

The Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 25 is owned by the U.S. government and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Hydro Friends’ proposed project would consist of: three new 450-foot-wide by 25-foot-deep modular hydropower systems, each containing 10 new 1-MW turbine-generator units, having a total combined generating capacity of 30 MW; a new 200-foot-long by 450-foot-wide tailrace; a new 7-mile-long, 69-kV transmission line; and a new 25-foot by 50-foot switchyard. The project would have an estimated annual generation of 170,000 megawatthours.
  • Energy Resources’ proposed project was to consist of: a new 770-foot-long by 300-foot-wide intake area; a new 90-foot by 220-foot reinforced concrete powerhouse; four 3-MW turbine-generators, having a total combined capacity of 12 MW; a 1,000-foot-long by 220-foot-wide tailrace area; a new 4.16/115-kV three-phase step-up transformer located in a new 60-foot-long by 50-footwide substation; and a new 7.69-mile-long, 115-kV transmission line. The project would have an estimated annual generation of 101,900 megawatthours.

Said the Jan. 15 decision: “Staff has reviewed the applications and found no basis for concluding that either applicant’s plan is superior to the other. Neither applicant has presented a plan based on detailed studies or the results of agency consultation. Where the plans of the applicants are equally well adapted to develop, conserve, and utilize in the public interest the water resources of the region, the Commission will favor the applicant with the earliest application acceptance date. Because Hydro Friends has the first-filed application, the preliminary permit is issued to Hydro Friends for the Mississippi River Lock and Dam 25 Hydropower Project No. 14694.”

A second FERC decision also went to Hydro Friends

FERC on Jan. 15 also issued a nearly identical order for another project site that the same parties had been competing for.

On July 20, 2015, Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund X LLC (Hydro Friends) filed an application for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the proposed Mississippi River Lock and Dam 24 Hydropower Project, to be located at the existing Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 24 on the Mississippi River, near the City of Clarksville in Calhoun and Pike counties, Illinois.

On Aug. 26, 2015, Energy Resources USA filed an application for a competing preliminary permit for its Clarksville Lock and Dam Hydroelectric Project at the same site.

Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 24 is owned by the U.S. government and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Hydro Friends’ project would consist of: three new 450-foot-wide by 25-foot-deep modular hydropower systems, each containing ten new 1-MW turbine-generator units, having a total combined capacity of 30 MW; a new 200-foot-long by 450-foot-wide tailrace; a new 3-mile-long, 69-kV transmission line; and a new 25-foot by 50-foot switchyard. The project would have an estimated annual generation of 170,000 megawatthours.
  • Energy Resources’ proposed project was to consist of: a new 770-foot-long by 300-foot-wide intake area; a new 90-foot by 220-foot reinforced concrete powerhouse; four 3-MW turbine-generators, having a total combined capacity of 12 MW; a 1,000-foot-long by 220-foot-wide tailrace area; a new 4.16/115-kV three-phase step-up transformer located in a new 60-foot-long by 50-footwide substation; and a new 5.49-mile-long, 115-kV transmission line. The project would have an estimated annual generation of 102,500 megawatthours.

Said this second Jan. 15 order: “Staff has reviewed the applications and found no basis for concluding that either applicant’s plan is superior to the other. Neither applicant has presented a plan based on detailed studies or the results of agency consultation. Where the plans of the applicants are equally well adapted to develop, conserve, and utilize in the public interest the water resources of the region, the Commission will favor the applicant with the earliest application acceptance date. Because Hydro Friends has the first-filed application, the preliminary permit is issued to Hydro Friends for the Lock and Dam 24 Project.”

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.