U.S. awards rural energy funds to hydro projects in four states

WASHINGTON 11/17/11 (PennWell) -- The Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $8 million to four hydroelectric projects in Connecticut, Oregon, Utah, and Vermont under the Rural Energy for America Program.

"The Obama administration is assisting small businesses, including farmers and ranchers, as they work to reduce their energy costs," Rural Development Deputy Undersecretary Doug O'Brien said of the awards, which went to numerous technologies. "When energy costs are reduced, American rural businesses become more competitive, allowing them to expand and create jobs."

Oregon hydro project receives $7.2 million loan

The largest amount for a hydropower project, a $7.2 million loan, went to EBD Hydro LLC, which is developing the 5-MW 45-Mile hydroelectric project on a concrete drop structure of the North Unit Irrigation District's main irrigation canal in Jefferson County, Ore. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued EBD a conduit exemption from licensing for 45-Mile (No. 13817) in 2010.

EBD also has received a $7.2 million loan from the Oregon Energy Department's State Energy Loan Program for the estimated $15 million project.

The 45-Mile project includes a proposed intake structure, 2,700-foot-long, 96-inch-diameter penstock, and powerhouse with one turbine-generator. It is expected to generate 18.126 GWh annually utilizing irrigation water diverted from the Deschutes and Crooked rivers.

Utah hydro project wins $500,000 grant

Agriculture awarded a $500,000 grant to BMB Enterprises Inc. to help complete the 650-kW Six-Mile Creek hydroelectric project (No. 6764) on Six-Mile Creek in Sanpete County, Utah. The grant is expected to be used to build transmission lines from the project to Manti, Utah.

FERC issued an order to BMB in October granting an extension of time to October 2013 to complete Six-Mile Creek. Although BMB received a license for the project in 1987, it has been delayed for various reasons including interconnection agreements, property acquisition problems, permitting, and rights of way.

The Six-Mile project includes a diversion structure, powerhouse containing four turbine-generators, and transmission lines.

Connecticut project receives $275,000 grant

Putnam Green Power LLC received a $275,000 grant for its proposed 875-kW Cargill Falls project on Quinebaug River in Putnam, Conn.

FERC received an application from Putnam in February for a maximum 5-MW small hydro exemption for Cargill Falls (No. 13080). (HydroWorld 4/1/11)

Cargill Falls includes two existing concrete gravity dams, a 1.5-acre upper reservoir, and two powerhouses containing refurbished 530-kW and 345-kW turbine-generators. The federal grant is to finance refurbishment of the two turbines. When completed the project is to generate 2.523 GWh annually.

Vermont project allotted $49,325 grant

Agriculture awarded a $49,325 grant to Green Mountain Environmental Consulting Inc. for the 65-kW Candelora hydroelectric project on Roaring Branch Brook in Bennington, Vt.

Green Mountain has filed an initial consultation document indicating it plans to seek a FERC exemption from licensing for Candelora, which would use existing Bennington Water Supply facilities including a concrete dam and a 4,400-foot penstock to a new powerhouse containing a turbine-generator.

In addition to federal funding, the Candelora project has been accepted for processing by Vermont's Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development program, which offers above-market rates to renewable energy projects.

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