Connecticut River Joint Commissions (CRJC) are engaged in bringing local and regional concerns to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as they consider the relicensing of five hydropower projects on the Connecticut River:
- Wilder Dam (Wilder Project No. P-1892)
- Bellows Falls Dam (Bellows Falls Project No. P-1855)
- Vernon Dam (Vernon Project No. P-1904)
- Turners Falls Dam (Turners Falls Project No. 1889), and
- Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project (No. 2485).
Wilder, Bellows Fall and Vernon Dams are located in New Hampshire and Vermont, and the Turners Falls Dam and Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Project are located in northern Massachusetts. CRJC’s interest lies with all five projects, as even the Masssachusetts projects have an impact on the river in southern Vermont and New Hampshire.
FERC is using an Integrated Licensing Process that will consider all five projects as a group. The relicensing process will take approximately five and a half years following a prescribed schedule, with the new 30 to 40-year licenses expected to be issued by April 30, 2018. TransCanada Hydro Northeast, Inc. operates the three projects in New Hampshire and Vermont and FirstLight Hydro Generating Company operates the two projects in Massachusetts.
CRJC’s Connecticut River Water Resources Management Plan and Recreation Managements Plan, prepared and published by CRJC, articulate several issues and concerns about the impacts that hydropower operations have on the river and make recommendations for studies and improvements in hydropower operations to be considered during relicensing. CRJC is raising those concerns and recommendations as a stakeholder participant in the relicensing process.
Upcoming Meetings –Connecticut River Watershed Council has compiled an online calendar of all stakeholder meetings to discuss the proposed studies that TransCanada and FirstLight will complete in the next two years.
Links of Interest –
FERC Publications to Help the Public Understand the Relicensing Process
- Hydropower Licensing – Get Involved: A Guide for the Public
- A Guide to Understanding and Applying the Integrated Licensing Process Study Criteria
- To be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects, you may register at http://www.ferc.gov/esubscribenow.htm. Refer to the project numbers listed above during registration. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at 1-866-208-3676, or for TTY, (202) 502-8659.
Documents filed with FERC as part of the Relicensing Process
- Preliminary Application Documents (PAD) and Proposed Study Plans – filed with FERC’s eLibrary, but easiest to find via the TransCanada and First Light websites shown below.
- Scoping Document
- Process Plan and Schedule for the ILP Relicensing
FERC Correspondence with Licensees
- Letter to FirstLight Hydro Generating Company providing Identified PAD Deficiencies, Additional Information Requests, and Study Requests. (03/01/2013)
- Letter to TransCanada Hydro Northeast providing Identified PAD Deficiencies, Additional Information Requests, and Study Requests. (03/01/2013)
Information provided by TransCanada – Documents are posted here, as well as other information.
- Wilder, Bellows Falls and Vernon Dams – http://www.transcanada-relicensing.com
Information provided by FirstLight – Documents are posted here, as well as other information.
- Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Facility and Turners Falls Dam – http://www.northfieldrelicensing.com