FERC rejects another permit app for Minnesota hydroelectric project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 4 rejected a March application from BOST1 Hydroelectric LLC for a preliminary permit under which it would study the feasibility of the Coon Rapids Dam Hydroelectric Project.

The proposed project would be located at the existing Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River in Hennepin and Anoka counties, Minnesota.

In October 2010, BOST1 received a three-year preliminary permit for the Coon Rapids Project and was granted a two-year extension of the permit term in September 2013. BOST1 did not file a final license application before the permit expired in September 2015.

On Oct. 1, 2015, BOST1 filed for a successive permit application, which commission staff denied on Jan. 20, 2016, because BOST1 had failed to make the showing necessary to justify a successive permit following an initial five-year permit term. BOST1 filed a request for rehearing on Feb. 19, 2016, which is pending. Seventeen days after it filed its rehearing request, BOST1 filed a new application for a preliminary permit for the Coon Rapids Project.

Said the May 4 FERC decision: “In the circumstances here, we view BOST1’s March 7, 2016 permit application as indistinguishable from its October 1, 2015 application. To justify a permit in either case, BOST1, which has already had five years to prepare a development application, needed to demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances or factors outside of its control prevented it from filing a license application. It failed to do so. BOST1’s new permit application is nearly identical to its successive permit application and does not provide any new facts to satisfy the extraordinary circumstances standard. Therefore, BOST1’s application for a preliminary permit is denied.”

There is an old powerhouse at the site. The generating units were removed in 1966, and subsequently the powerhouse was converted into a recreation/observation area. The new plan for the site has been for a HYDROMATRIX (HM) plant that will be situated in the stilling basin area downstream from the two spillway sections of SPAN 9 (section between pier 9 and 10) and SPAN 10 (section between pier 10 and the Southwest abutment). The HM plant will feature two powerhouse sections (newly constructed retaining walls) located between spillway Span 9 and Span 10. Each turbine would have a rated output of 590.3 kW at a net head of 17.7 feet. A total of 16 units will result in a maximum plant capacity of 9.45 MW.

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.