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Tennessee's Tapoco Project earns Low Impact certificationSubmitted by John Seebach on Wed, 2005-01-12 07:00
The Tapoco hydropower project lies on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah rivers in Tennessee and North Carolina. Under a comprehensive settlement agreement and license, owner Alcoa will preserve virgin tracts of forest lands and restore flows to these Smoky Mountain streams. Now the project has earned Low Impact Certification from our partners at the Low Impact Hydropower Institute.The press release from the Low Impact Hydropower Institute:December 1, 2005 Tapoco Becomes Largest Eastern Project to Earn Certification as Low Impact Tapoco Is First Project to Earn an 8-Year Certification For Meeting Special Watershed Management Criteria PORTLAND, ME – (DECEMBER 1, 2005) – The Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) announced today that Alcoa' s Tapoco Hydroelectric Project has earned LIHI' s Low Impact Certification. The Tapoco project consists of four powerhouses and four dams in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina totaling 350 megawatts (MW) of electric generation capacity, which power Alcoa Tennessee Operations near Knoxville. The project is located on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers and is owned and operated by Alcoa Power Generating Inc. Earlier this year, the project was relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 40-year period. Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa has 131,000 employees in 43 countries and has been named one of the top three most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at http://www.alcoa.com/ Tapoco is the largest hydropower project to be certified by LIHI on the east coast and is the first to receive an eight-year certification in recognition of meeting special watershed management criteria. “ We take great pleasure in certifying this facility and congratulate Alcoa ,” said Richard Roos-Collins, chair of LIHI' s Governing Board. “ This decision should send a clear message that even large hydropower facilities can operate with low impacts to key natural resources, and offer enhanced value to shareholders and customers alike.” The LIHI certification program is relatively new, having certified its first plant in March 2001. The Institute' s voluntary certification program is designed to help consumers identify environmentally sound, low impact hydropower facilities for emerging “ green” energy markets. The Tapoco project meets LIHI' s eight environmentally rigorous low impact criteria addressing river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed health, endangered species protection, cultural resources, recreation use and access, and whether or not the dam itself has been recommended for removal. Tapoco successfully completed LIHI' s formal review process, which includes a public comment period, review by an independent technical consultant, consultations with state and federal natural resource agencies, and evaluation by the LIHI Governing Board, including leaders in the river conservation and renewable energy fields. The Board' s vote to certify the Tapoco project was unanimous. With the certification of the Tapoco project, the Institute has certified low impact hydro projects in 14 states with an installed capacity of over 1450 MW. For more information about projects certified as low impact, contact Fred Ayer, LIHI Executive Director, at (207) 773-8190, or visit the LIHI Web site at www.lowimpacthydro.org LIHI is a nonprofit organization that certifies environmentally low impact hydropower facilities nationwide to help energy consumers and to support market incentives for reducing the effects of hydropower dams on the nation' s rivers and streams. The press release from Alcoa Industries: Alcoa Obtains Low-Impact Hydropower Certification; New Upgrades Increase Generating CapacityPITTSBURGH and ALCOA, Tenn.--(CCNMatthews - Dec 1, 2005) -Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that the independent, non-profit Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI) has certified Alcoa Power Generating Inc.'s (APGI) Tapoco hydroelectric project as an environmentally-responsible, low-impact hydropower project that meets and exceeds the most stringent operating requirements recommended by expert state and federal resource agencies. APGI's Tapoco project is the largest hydropower project to be certified by LIHI on the east coast and is the first to receive an eight-year certification in recognition of meeting special watershed management criteria. The project consists of four powerhouses and four dams in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina totaling 350 megawatts (MW) of electric generation capacity, which power Alcoa Tennessee Operations near Knoxville. The certification comes on the heels of APGI's recent completion of its second turbine upgrade at the Calderwood powerhouse in eastern Tennessee, which resulted in 14 MW of additional peak generation capacity. When the third and last turbine at Calderwood is upgraded in mid-2006, Calderwood's total demonstrated capacity will increase by 42 MW. " This project is part of Alcoa's commitment to increase the use of natural, renewable energy sources such as hydropower that help lower emissions and reduce contributions to global warming," said Kevin Anton, president, Alcoa Materials Management. " In addition to increasing Calderwood's capacity by 37 percent, the new turbines improve efficiency and generate up to 6 percent more energy with the same water flow. By increasing the capacity and efficiency at Calderwood without constructing new dams, Alcoa is bringing additional renewable energy to the region while reducing dependence on electricity generated by fossil fuels." The Calderwood powerhouse is currently undergoing upgrades as part of Alcoa's overall $187 million program to improve the Tapoco hydroelectric system. The program began in 2002 and involves upgrading a total of 13 hydroelectric generating units and other system infrastructure over a 15-year period. As one of the founding members of the Green Power Market Development Group convened by the World Resources Institute (WRI) in 2000, Alcoa is one of 13 leading corporations seeking to develop corporate markets for 1,000 MW of new green power. The incremental 42 MW at Calderwood is part of nearly 360 MW of green power resources the group has caused to bring about to date. Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted a 40-year relicense for the Tapoco project. LIHI certification is a voluntary program designed to help identify and reward hydropower dams that meet LIHI's strict criteria that measures water quality, watershed protection, fish passage and protection, threatened and endangered species protection, river flows, recreation and cultural resource protection. The evaluation process includes a public comment period, review by an independent technical consultant, consultations with state and federal natural resource agencies, evaluations, and a decision by the LIHI governing board, which is comprised of leaders from a number of environmental organizations including the National Resources Defense Council, American Rivers, and Union of Concerned Scientists.