Pennsylvania agency works on water permitting for two hydroelectric projects

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in the Oct. 1 Pennsylvania Bulletin posted two notices about proposed conditional state water quality certifications for two hydroelectric projects that are currently in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s licensing process.

In March 2014, FFP Missouri 6 LLC filed an application with FERC for a license to construct and operate a 12-MW hydroelectric facility at the Emsworth back channel dam, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Ohio River, at river mile 6.8, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The Applicant is required pursuant to section 401(a) of the Federal Clean Water Act to provide FERC with certification from Pennsylvania that any discharge from the project to waters of the Commonwealth will comply with provisions of the act relating to water quality standards, and necessary measures to achieve and maintain those standards.

On Sept. 14, 2016, Rye Development LLC provided the department with a complete application for State Water Quality Certification, including an Environmental Assessment for the Emsworth project, on behalf of the applicant. The project would consist of a new, approximately 100-foot-long intake channel to be excavated into the riverbed, upstream of the proposed powerhouse. Two 50-foot-wide, 40-foot-high spillway gate bays would be constructed along the river side of the excavated intake channel, to pass flow equivalent to the Corps’ existing gate bay that will be replaced. The intake channel would lead to a concrete intake structure that would convey flows past a trash rack with 5-inch bar spacing, to a new reinforced concrete powerhouse. The powerhouse would house two identical horizontal pit Kaplan turbine generator units with a combined capacity of 12 MW. Flows would exit the powerhouse into an approximately 190-foot-long tailrace excavated into the riverbed. Project power would be transmitted from the powerhouse to a new project substation with a 188-foot-long, medium-voltage buried cable, and then from the new substation to an existing substation with a 3,758-foot-long, 69-kV overhead transmission line.

In March 2014, Solia 6 Hydroelectric LLC applied with FERC for a license to construct and operate a 42-MW hydroelectric facility at the Montgomery Locks and Dam, which is owned and operated by the Corps on the Ohio River, at river mile 31.7, in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

On Sept. 14, 2016, Rye Development provided the department with an application for State Water Quality Certification, including an Environmental Assessment for this second project, on behalf of the applicant. The project would consist of a new, roughly 340-feet-long intake channel to be excavated into the riverbed immediately downstream of two of the dam’s existing bays. Two new spillway gate bays, with a combined width of 200 feet, would be constructed along the river side of the excavated intake channel, to pass flow equivalent to one existing gate bay. The intake channel would lead to a concrete intake structure that would convey flows past a trash rack, with 5-inch bar spacing, to a new reinforced concrete powerhouse. The powerhouse would house three identical horizontal pit Kaplan turbine-generator units, with a combined capacity of 42 MW. Flows would exit the powerhouse into an approximately 280-foot-long tailrace excavated into the riverbed. Project power would be transmitted from the powerhouse to a new project substation, with a 15-foot-long, medium-voltage buried cable, and then from the new substation to an interconnection point in an existing distribution line, with a 392-foot-long, overhead transmission line, with a voltage between 69-kV and 138 kV.

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.