New York: Construction to start by 2016 on 14.08-MW Cannonsville hydro project

Cannonsville Hydropower Project

New York City's Department of Environmental Protection formally announced plans to proceed with construction of the 14.08-MW Cannonsville hydroelectric project on an existing city water supply dam on the West Branch of the Delaware River in Delaware County, N.Y.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a license in May to the DEP for the Cannonsville project (No. 13287).

DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced Sept. 16 that the city would build the hydro project at the city's Cannonsville Reservoir, the newest of New York City's 19 reservoirs, which was placed in service in 1964. She said construction of the $72 million project could begin as early as 2016.

"The new hydroelectric facility at Cannonsville Reservoir will utilize the natural power of New York City's water supply system, which conveys billions of gallons of water every year by the force of gravity alone," Lloyd said. "By capturing more of that energy, New York City can generate clean and reliable electricity, improve air quality, and fight climate change by avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases."

The project is to feature four turbine-generators in a 9,000-square-foot powerhouse. They are to generate 42.48 GWh annually and earn about $2 million per year, depending on demand and the market price of electricity.

In 2009, FERC issued a preliminary permit to New York for the proposed 29.75-MW West of Hudson project (the original No. 13287), which included the proposed 12.1-MW Cannonsville, 1.65-MW Neversink, 3.1-MW Pepacton, and 12.9-MW Schoharie developments, all on existing water supply reservoirs in Upstate New York. The city, which uses water from the reservoirs, had filed the permit application to compete with one filed earlier by Delaware County Electric Cooperative for the 63-MW Catskills Hydro project (No. 13222), which would have utilized the reservoirs.

In its license application for Cannonsville, the city subsequently sought a stand-alone license for the single development. It also filed a successive preliminary permit application for a new 2.6-MW West of Hudson project (No. 14366) comprising 900-kW Neversink and 1.7-MW Pepacton developments.

In its permit application, New York said it found that Cannonsville could be connected to the transmission system of New State Electric & Gas Corp. However, Neversink and Pepacton would have to be connected to NYSEG's nearby distribution system. New York said NYSEG found Neversink would exceed NYSEG's distribution circuits' capacity, while Pepacton would exceed NYSEG's operating criteria.

Because of delays in determining the scope of necessary distribution system upgrades, New York decided to proceed with Cannonsville separately. The city also said it has not identified a feasible design for a hydro plant at the Schoharie development and, therefore, deleted it from the application.

DEP owns two other hydro plants in Neversink, N.Y., the 25-MW Neversink Tunnel Outlet and the 18-MW East Delaware Tunnel Outlet.

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