The Project consists of four hydro developments, Norwood, East Norfolk, Norfolk and Raymondville, along the Raquette River in St. Lawrence County, New York.

The newly defined Lower Raquette River Project (LRRP or Project) is comprised of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) license 2330 that includes Erie Boulevard Hydro’s (EBH) Norwood, East Norfolk, Norfolk and Raymondville hydro developments.

Project Name Lower Raquette
LIHI Certificate Number 14C
LIHI Effective and Expiration Dates July 9, 2014
July 9, 2019
Owner Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
State New York
Location Located along the Raquette River in St. Lawrence County, New York.
Installed Capacity 18 MW
Average Annual Generation 106 GWh
Facility Type ROR mode
FERC No. 2330

The Raquette River, with a total drainage basin of 1,269 square miles at its month, originates in the Adirondack highlands at Blue Mountain Lake, Raquette Lake and Long Lake, flows generally north-northwest for more than 120 miles, through Potsdam, New York and empties into the St. Lawrence River, near Massena, New York into the St. Lawrence River/Seaway at the St. Regis Indian Reservation in Franklin County.

The area experiences cold, snowy winters and short summers. Annual precipitation is about 40 inches. As the river flows north, it transitions from cold water habitat to a cool water aquatic fishery as the river reaches the lower gradients.

Most of the basin is sparsely populated, with much of the land forested and brush land. The Project is in a largely rural, forested area that is dependent on forestry, some agriculture, wood products, and tourism. Historically, the river has been developed for water power for sawmills, paper mills, tanneries, and other industry.

In the Raquette River headwaters, the Carry Falls development, located at river mile (RM) 68 impounds 877 square miles (sq. mi.) of upstream drainage. This development’s seasonal storage pond is the largest on the Raquette River (RM 76 to 68) and is used to store and regulate the majority of this upstream flow to the downstream MRRP & LRRP developments. Flows below the MRRP’s most downstream project (Sugar Island) travel an additional ten miles before reaching the most upstream development in the LRRP (Norwood).

Four other FERC projects are located within this ten mile stretch of the Raquette River. They include the Potsdam Project (FERC-2869) (RM 35), owned by the Village of Potsdam, Sissonville Limited Partnership’s (SLP) Sissonville Project (FERC-9260) (RM 33) and EBH’s Hewittville (FERC-2499) (RM 32) and Unionville (FERC-2498) (RM 31) Projects, acquired in March of 2007. All of these projects have individual dams/spillways that receive inflow from the MRRP for power production. Project outflows are passed through each project and eventually become inflow for the LRRP.

EBH’s Yaleville Project (P-9222) (RM 25) is also located on the Raquette River within the LRRP’s boundary, downstream of the Norwood development and upstream of the East Norfolk development.

The LRRP is located on the Raquette River in St. Lawrence County, NY about ten miles below the MRRP.  The Project consists of four developments, Norwood, East Norfolk, Norfolk and Raymondville, as shown in Table 1. Each development has a dam, reservoir, and powerhouse. From 2002 to about 2007, the LRRP was operated as described in the Raquette River Project Offer of Settlement (RRPSO), submitted to FERC on April 22, 1998[1] and incorporated into the 2002 FERC license[2].

On June 30, 2006, EBH filed an application with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for a Water Quality Certificate (WQC) for proposed turbine upgrades. The NYSDEC issued its WQC on October 13, 2006[3]. The WQC conditions required:

  1. That the WQC certification issued for the project upon its relicensing in February 2002 continues to be in full force,
  2. Requires EBH to operate the impoundments in a Run-of-River (ROR) mode,
  3. EBH to develop and submit to the NYSDEC a revised stream flow and water level monitoring plan (SWLMP) within six months after issuance of the license amendment,
  4. EBH to install one inch trashracks at the Norwood development in 2007, and,
  5. EBH to install upstream eel passage at each development.

On December 5, 2006, FERC issued an amended license for the Lower Raquette River Project (P-2330) (LRRAL)[4] that incorporated conditions of the WQC. The amended license authorized replacing the existing turbines for all four developments (Norwood, East Norfolk, Norfolk, and Raymondville) and changed their operation to a ROR mode. The overall installed capacity increased from 12.0 megawatts (MW) to 18 MW. Additionally, EBH agreed to accelerate the implementation of the fish protection and downstream passage measures at the Norwood development from 2010 to 2007 and install upstream eel passage at all four developments.

Each LRRP development was constructed in 1928, and contained a single vertical turbine. The replacement of the four turbines and associated generator rewinds resulted in increasing the total hydraulic capacity of the LRRP from 6,625 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 8,503-cfs and the average annual energy (AAE) by 24.9 gigawatt-hour (GWh) per year.

The Norwood development’s single vertical turbine with an installed capacity of 2.0 MW was upgraded to a Kaplan runner upgrade with an installed capacity of 3.1 MW and a hydraulic capacity increased from approximately 1,580-cfs to 2,099-cfs. The new runner allows better utilization of the existing generator capacity resulting in an additional output of 4.43 GWh per year.

[1] RRPSO can be found here –  http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/search/intermediate.asp?link_info=yes&doclist=1845587

[2] February 13, 2002 FERC License – http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=11860653

[3] October 13, 2006 WQC – http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=11162942

[4] December 5, 2006 FERC Amended License – http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=11199505

The East Norfolk development’s single vertical turbine-generator with an installed capacity of 3.0 MW was upgraded to a Kaplan runner with an installed capacity of 4.8 MW and the hydraulic capacity increased from approximately 1,635-cfs to 2,067-cfs. The new runner’s increase in output required a generator rewind and replacement of the step up transformer. AAE increases by 5.94 GWh.

The Norfolk development’s single vertical turbine with an installed capacity of 4.5 MW was upgraded to a Kaplan runner with an installed capacity of 7.0 MW and the hydraulic capacity increased from approximately 1,770-cfs to 2,238-cfs. The new runner allows better utilization of the existing generator capacity resulting in an additional output of 9.72 GWh per year.

The Raymondville development’s single unit rated for 2.0 MW was upgraded with a Kaplan runner upgrade increasing the installed capacity to 3.1 MW and the hydraulic capacity from approximately 1,640-cfs to 2,099-cfs. The new runner allows better utilization of the existing generator capacity resulting in an additional 4.83 GWh per year.

These improvements were completed and placed in service near in 2008. On September 12, 2008, EBH filed a Request for Certification of Incremental Hydropower Generation on developments of license 2330[1]. On April 16, 2009, FERC approved and certified incremental energy for the Project[2].

[1] http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=11804226

[2] http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=11991682

Major Project Works

The Norwood development has a total drainage area of 1,045 sq. mi. with an intervening drainage area of 51 sq. mi. between the Norwood and the upstream MRRP’s Sugar Island development and consists of:

  • A 188-foot-long by 23-foot-high concrete gravity dam with 1-foot-high wooden flashboards;
  • A reservoir with a 350-acre surface area and a 1,900-acre-foot usable storage capacity at normal maximum pool elevation 327.1 feet mean sea level (MSL);
  • A concrete intake structure with steel trashracks oriented 90 degrees to the direction of flow, a skimmer section, and three motor-operated steel sliding gates;
  • Two timber flood gates, one 9-feet, 9-inches wide by 12-feet high, and the other 12-feet high by 12-feet wide;
  • A concrete log chute with stop log opening 11-feet, 2-inches wide by 4-feet, 6-inches high;
  • A concrete and brick powerhouse 59-feet, 9-inches long by 43-feet wide by 34-feet high containing a 3.1 MW generating unit;
  • A 3-mile-long, 23 kilovolt (kV) transmission line connecting the Norwood and Norfolk developments, and;
  • Appurtenant facilities.

The East Norfolk development has a total drainage area of 1,063 sq. mi. with an intervening drainage area of 18 sq. mi. between the East Norfolk and the upstream Norwood development, and consists of:

  • A concrete gravity dam with seven hand-operated sluice gates measuring 8-feet wide by 9-feet high protected by steel trashracks oriented 24 degrees to the direction of flow;
  • A reservoir with a 135-acre surface area and a 360-acre-foot usable storage capacity at normal maximum pool elevation of 287.9 feet MSL;
  • A 4-foot by 4-foot pond drain;
  • A concrete intake structure equipped with steel trashracks oriented 90 degrees to the direction of flow, a skimmer section, and an ice chute with a steel sliding gate;
  • A 32-foot wide by 1,408-foot long oval steel flume;
  • A powerhouse containing a single 4.8 MW generating unit;
  • a 0.86-mile-long, 23 kV transmission line connecting the East Norfolk and Norfolk developments, and;
  • Appurtenant facilities.

The Norfolk development has a total drainage area of 1,066 sq. mi. with an intervening drainage area of 3 sq. mi. between the Norfolk and East Norfolk developments. Norfolk consists of:

  • A reservoir with a 10-acre surface area and a 35-acre-foot usable storage capacity at normal maximum pool elevation of 254.9 feet MSL;
  • A 20-foot-high concrete dam with 10-inch high flashboards, three 12-foot wide by 10-foot high steel headworks gates, and two 9-foot wide by 9-foot high sluice gates;
  • A 14-foot diameter, 103-foot long steel penstock fitted with a motor-operated 14-foot diameter butterfly valve;
  • A 700-foot long, 14-foot diameter wood stave pipeline protected by two steel trashracks oriented 90 degrees to the direction of flow, a skimmer section, and a 6-foot wide by 6-foot high ice sluice gate used for flushing ice and debris downstream;
  • A 1,275-foot-long power canal;
  • A concrete and brick powerhouse measuring 52-feet, 6-inches wide by 50-feet, 7-inches long by 35-feet high containing a 7.0 MW generating unit;
  • A short 2.4 kV underground transmission line and a 2.32-mile long, 115 kV transmission line connecting the Norfolk and Raymondville developments, and;
  • Appurtenant facilities.

The Raymondville development has a total drainage area of 1,077 sq. mi. with an intervening drainage area of 11 sq. mi. between the Raymondville and the upstream Norfolk development. Raymondville consists of:

  • A 50-acre reservoir area and a 315-acre-foot usable storage capacity at normal pool elevation 211.6 feet MSL;
  • A 292-foot, 6-inch long by 17-foot high concrete gravity dam having 2.0-foot high rubber and steel flashboards;
  • Two 4-foot by 4-foot pond drains;
  • A 48-foot) wide by 447-foot-long concrete power flume having trashracks oriented 90 degrees to the direction of flow, an ice chute, and three steel flume intake gates, each 12 feet wide by 10 feet high;
  • A concrete, brick, and steel powerhouse measuring 59-feet, 9-inches wide by 42-feet long by 34-feet high containing a 3.1 MW generating unit; and
  • Appurtenant facilities.

Project Operations

From 2002 to about 2007, as allowed in its 2002 FERC License, the LRRP developments were operated in a pulsing mode. The normal reservoir fluctuation was limited to no more than 0.5 foot at the Norwood, East Norfolk, and Raymondville developments and no more than 1.0 foot at the Norfolk development. As subsequently modified in the December 5, 2006 LRRAL, the operation of all the LRRP’s developments was changed from a pulsing mode to a ROR mode. On March 24, 2010, EBH provided FERC with the final revised SWLMP[1]. This document finalized the definition of ROR mode.

The ROR mode of operation targets a normal maximum fluctuation limit of 0.2 feet below the dam crest or top of flashboards. However, up to 0.5 feet of impoundment fluctuation is allowed before an impoundment level deviation notification to the NYDEC and FERC is warranted. This ROR mode will maintain reservoir levels at or near the top of the dam crest or top of flashboard. Since minimum flows at the developments are passed over weirs a slightly higher minimum flow and/or fish movement flow will be provided.

The LRRP developments have an overall installed capacity of 18.0 MW and produce an average annual energy (AAE) of 106.0 GWh (Plant factor of 67.2%).

[1] http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/OpenNat.asp?fileID=12301362

Certification History

May 15, 2015: The Lower Raquette River Hydroelectric Project has been certified for a third term of low impact certification, effective July 9, 2014 and expiring July 9, 2019, with the following conditions:

  1. Facility owner shall develop a draft Deviation Reduction Plan (DRP) and submit it to LIHI no later than three months after LIHI certification of LRRP. The DRP define proactive operational control approaches for dam releases and pond level maintenance that will reduce the likelihood of operational deviations occurring in the future.  The DRP needs to address the specific problems and potential recommendations identified in the reviewer’s report. Options to be considered should include audible alarms in control centers and programmable logic controllers. The DRP shall describe options considered, those selected, and a schedule for implementation.  LIHI staff will review and comment on the draft plan and be available to assist in the development of the DRP, if requested. The final DRP needs to be completed and agreed to by both EBH and LIHI no later the six months after LIHI certification.
  1. Facility owner shall provide annual reports to LIHI documenting operational deviations from instream flow or pond levels that occurred throughout each year of certification. The report shall describe all deviations that have occurred, regardless of whether the deviations were planned or unintentional or whether they are eventually deemed as not violating the license by FERC. The report is due at the same time as the annual compliance statement and payment of the annual certification fee.

In rendering this Certification, the Institute’s Executive Director used authority delegated by the LIHI Governing Board and the unanimous recommendation by the LIHI Governing Board Technical Committee resulting from a full review of the Application Reviewer’s report (available in the Files section below) and all public comments and additional materials provided by the Applicant.

June 4, 2014: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a comment letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the recertification of the Raquette River Project. The letter is available to read in full in the “Files” section below.

May 23, 2014: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a comment letter from John Omohundro regarding the recertification of the Raquette River Project. The letter is available to read in full in the “Files” section below.

May 12, 2014: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute received an application for a third term of certification of the Raquette River Project. The current certificate term is set to expire on July 9, 2014, but to allow time for public comment and internal review, the term has been extended to August 30, 2014.

April 15, 2010: The Raquette River Project has been certified as low impact for a second five year term, effective July 9, 2009 and expiring July 9, 2014.

October 27, 2004: The Raquette River Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective July 9, 2004 and expiring July 9, 2009.

Files: