FERC terminates a hydro license after 14 years of in-operation

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After 14 years of in-operation, FERC has terminated the license for Appleton Trust Hydropower Project (P-9300) on the Hamilton Canal in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The project, when it was operational before November 1994, had the capacity to produce 346 kW.According to FERC, the project needed major repairs to resume operation and it had asked the licensee to perform the repairs and resume operations. However, the licensee failed to perform repairs or make a commitment to do so for a decade. Additionally, in July 2006, the City of Lowell had obtained the land in which the project was located, which effectively transferred the rights on the project land to the City.In an order issued yesterday, FERC states

 "The licensee's renewed interest in the project is too little, too late.  The project has not operated for almost 14 years, and it needs major repairs and a power sales contract to resume operation.  For over 10 years, Commission staff tried to work with the licensee, repeatedly asking for repair schedules and plans.  Again and again, the licensee either failed to respond or responded by providing schedules for fixing the project that were never met.

Additionally, FERC states

Today, there is no evidence that the project is any closer to being able to resume operation than it was 14 years ago.  In fact, the City's acquisition of the land and buildings by eminent domain makes any possibility of repairing the project and resuming operations even less likely.

FERC has the discretion to terminate a hydropower license by "implied surrender" if it deems that the licensee is not showing good faith to operate a project.The project was located in the basement of what was formerly a six-story mill building. After the demolition of the building by the City in 2002, the generating equipment has been covered with collapsed building material.