FERC ready to terminate permit for 93-MW Melvin Price hydro project

The Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency is giving up a preliminary permit issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that granted it exclusive time for feasibility study on the proposed Melvin Price Lock and Dam, Missouri-Hydroelectric Water Power Project.

FERC said in a May 25 termination notice that the permit was issued in June 2014 and would have expired on May 31, 2017. The project would have been located on the Mississippi River near the City of Alton, Illinois, in Madison County, Illinois, and the City of West Alton, in St. Charles County, Missouri.

The preliminary permit will remain in effect until the close of business on June 24. But, if the commission is closed on this day, then the permit remains in effect until the close of business on the next day in which the commission is open. New applications for this site may not be submitted until after the permit surrender is effective.

Western Minnesota’s Melvin Price project was to consist of: six 110-foot-wide, approximately 110-foot-long steel structures placed immediately downstream of the existing tainter gates 4 through 9 (one steel structure per gate) containing arrays of micro-turbines and pinned between new 60-foot-long, 72-foot-high concrete piers extending downstream of the existing piers; a 150- foot by 150-foot substation located next to the dam on the Missouri side of the river that would step-up the project voltage from 13.8 kilovolt (kV) to 138 kV; and a 138-kV, 1.07-miles-long transmission line connecting the project substation to an existing substation on the Illinois side of the river.

Western Minnesota had as of permit issuance not decided on a micro-turbine supplier but stated that the capacity of the project would be based on an established flow and head condition. At a mean water head of 14.7 feet and a flow of 72,600 cubic feet per second (cfs) flowing through the project, each steel structure assembly would produce 15.5 MW, resulting in a project rated capacity of 93 MW.

Notable is that in winning the 2014 permit, Western Minnesota beat a competing application from Lock+ Hydro Friends Fund III LLC for a project at the same site.

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.