FERC issues license for 66.6-MW hydro project on the Ohio River

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 27 approved an April 2011 application from Uniontown Hydro LLC for a license to construct, operate, and maintain the Uniontown Hydroelectric Project.

The project will be located at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ John T. Myers Locks and Dam on the Ohio River in Union County, Kentucky, and Posey County, Indiana. The project will occupy 55.3 acres of federal land administered by the Corps. The project’s authorized capacity being licensed is 66.6 MW.

The John T. Myers Locks and Dam consists of a 3,504-foot-long dam with a spillway section that includes ten Tainter gates and a concrete fixed overflow weir. Each gate is 110 feet wide by 32 feet high. The main and auxiliary locks are on the Indiana side of the river. The main lock is 110 feet wide by 1,200 feet long and the auxiliary lock is 110 feet wide by 600 feet long. The impoundment above the John T. Myers Locks and Dam has a surface area of 19,350 acres and a storage capacity of 543,862 acre-feet.

The Corps operates John T. Myers Locks and Dam in a run-of-river mode and maintains a minimum pool in the Ohio River for navigational purposes.

The project will consist of these new facilities: a 250-foot-long forebay to be constructed adjacent to the southernmost pier of the dam’s Tainter gate section by removing a portion of the fixed overflow weir; a 215-foot-long by 167-foot-wide submersible, concrete powerhouse containing three Kaplan turbinegenerators, each with an installed capacity of 22.2 MW, to be constructed immediately downstream of the forebay; a 144-foot-long, 69-foot-high trashrack, with 6-inch openings to be installed at the powerhouse intake; a 200-foot-long tailrace; a 411-foot-long, 102-foot-wide submerged dike to be located in the river channel approximately 850 feet downstream of the tailrace for navigational purposes; a 32.6-mile-long, 138-kV transmission line; a switchyard; and a 2,495-foot-long access road that will connect to an existing county road.

The average annual generation of the proposed project is estimated to be 224,000 megawatt-hours (MWh). The project will operate in a run-of-release mode within the constraints of the Corps’ operating procedures.

In applying an analysis to the Uniontown Project, FERC staff considered two options: Uniontown’s proposal and the project as now licensed. As proposed by Uniontown, the levelized annual cost of constructing and operating the Uniontown Project is $24,981,453, or $111.52/MWh. The proposed project would generate approximately 224,000 MWh annually. When the estimate of average generation is multiplied by the alternative power cost of $55.05/MWh, the total estimated value of the project’s power is $12,331,200 in 2016 dollars.

To determine whether the proposed project is currently economically beneficial, the project’s cost is subtracted from the value of the project’s power. Therefore, in the first year of operation, the project would cost $12,650,253 or $56.47/MWh, more than the likely alternative cost of power. As licensed herein, the levelized annual cost of constructing and operating the project would be about $24,994,583, or $111.58/MWh. Based on the amount of estimated average generation of 224,000 MWh as licensed herein, the project would produce power valued at $12,331,200 when multiplied by the $55.05/MWh value of the project’s power. Therefore, in the first year of operation, project power would cost $12,663,383 or $56.53/MWh, more than the likely cost of alternative power.

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.