FERC relicenses North Carolina's 26.175-MW East Fork, 24.6-MW West Fork

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has relicensed two North Carolina hydroelectric projects of five developments totaling 50.775 MW that are part of a settlement that included breaching of the 225-kW Dillsboro hydroelectric project in 2010.

FERC issued relicenses May 4 to Duke Energy Carolinas LLC for the 26.175-MW East Fork project (No. 2698) and the 24.6-MW West Fork project (No. 2686) on the Tuckasegee River in Jackson County, N.C. Duke surrendered its license to operate the 225-kW Dillsboro project in 2007, as agreed in 2004 settlements for relicensing nine hydroelectric developments in southwestern North Carolina.

Duke and stakeholders crafted agreements over three years to resolve issues associated with relicensing East Fork, West Fork, 43.2-MW Nantahala (No. 2692), 980-kW Bryson (No. 2601), 1.04-MW Franklin (No. 2603), and 1.8-MW Mission (No. 2619). Nantahala, Bryson, Franklin, and Mission, which each have one powerhouse, are still in the relicensing process.

The East Fork project features three powerhouses, 10.8-MW Tennessee Creek, 9-MW Bear Creek, and 6.375-MW Cedar Cliff, while West Fork has two powerhouses, 21.6-MW Glenville and 3-MW Tuckasegee.

In its relicense proposals, Duke sought no new capacity for East Fork and West Fork. It proposed to operate the projects according to terms of the settlement agreements, with measures for protection, mitigation, and enhancement of resources affected by the project.

As relicensed, FERC estimated in the first year of operation, East Fork's power would cost $1.5 million, or $17.16 per megawatt-hour less than the cost of alternative power, while West Fork's would cost $1.9 million, or $20.19/MWh less than the cost of alternative power.

Duke Power purchased the seven projects, on the Nantahala and Tuckasegee rivers, from Nantahala Power & Light in 1988. In 2000, Nantahala changed its name to Nantahala Power and Light, a division of Duke Energy Corp. Subsequently, FERC approved a transfer of the projects to Duke Energy Corp., under the name Duke Power, a division of Duke Energy Corp., Nantahala Area. In March 2007, the commission approved the transfer of the Dillsboro license from Duke Power to Duke Energy Carolinas LLC.

For more FERC news, click here.

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