Complete Application Received – Brassua Project, Maine
March 31, 2022: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Certification of the Brassua Project. LIHI is seeking public comment on this application. Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Project meets the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria, as revised in the 2nd Edition Handbook. Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s application materials below.
Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc.) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered. Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail at email@example.com with “Brassua Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 1167 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476. Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on May 30, 2022 to be considered. All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond. Any response will also be posted.
|LIHI Certificate No.
|LIHI Certificate Term
|Brookfield White Pine Hydro LLC; Merimil Limited Partnership; and Eagle Creek Kennebec Hydro, LLC
|River Mile 3 on the Moose River
|Average Annual Generation
|Storage and Peaking
|P-2615, Issued April 1, 2020 and Expiring April 30, 2060
The Brassua Project is located on the Moose River in Somerset County, Maine. The Moose River watershed is located within the Kennebec River basin in western Maine primarily in Somerset County. The Moose River is approximately 76 miles long and has a total drainage area of approximately 716 square miles. The Brassua project is located roughly 3 miles upstream from the inlet to Moosehead Lake and is the only dam on the Moose River.
The project was originally constructed as a reservoir storage project in 1927, became operational in 1928, and has provided stabilized river flows to other downstream interests since that time. The Federal Power Commission (FPC) issued an original license for the project on September 16, 1977. The license was for a term effective April 1, 1962 and terminating December 31, 1993. The Brassua Project is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as Project No. 2615.
The Project license was amended in 1987, resulting in FERC approval of the construction of the generating facilities in 1989, as they exist today. The powerhouse was constructed in 1989 and began generation on October 1, 1989. This order extended the license term by 19 years, whereby the license expiration was designated as March 31, 2012. The FERC issued a new license for the Brassua Project to Brookfield White Pine Hydro LLC, Merimil Limited Partnership, and Eagle Creek Kennebec Hydro, LLC (licensees) on April 15, 2020 for a period of 40 years, effective April 1, 2020.
The Project consists of the dam, powerhouse, reservoir and appurtenant facilities. It includes a 1,789-foot-long dam impounding a 9,400-acre reservoir (Brassua Lake); a 108-foot-long penstock connected to a powerhouse containing a single turbine generating unit with an installed capacity of 4.18 MW; and a 2,000-foot-long, 34.5-kilovolt transmission line. The project is operated as a seasonal storage and generation facility where flow releases are determined by minimum instream flow requirements and downstream demands for hydroelectric generation in the Kennebec River, as well as flood control.
The Brassua Dam includes the following sections:
- a 410-foot-long south embankment section with a concrete core wall and topped with a 3.5-foot-high wave barrier;
- a 342-foot-long concrete-faced earth embankment section topped with a 3.5-foot-high wave barrier;
- a 284-foot-long Ambursen-type slab and buttress spillway section with five vertical slide gates, a log sluice steel slide gate, ten wooden stop log slots, four deep gates;
- a crest elevation of 1,074 feet mean sea level (msl) at the top of the vertical slide gates;
- a 19-foot-long section that consists of an inactive concrete fishway;
- a 734-foot-long north embankment section with a concrete core wall and topped with a 3.5-foot-high wave barrier.
The powerhouse is located near the toe of the dam on the downstream side of the south embankment. The powerhouse contains a single horizontal shaft generator unit with the nameplate rating of 4,180 kW. The existing turbine is a Voith horizontal-shaft double-regulated Kaplan unit rated at 6,166 Hp (4.6 MW). The rated hydraulic capacity of the unit is 1,600 cfs at a rated head of 30.1 feet. The maximum hydraulic capacity of the turbines is approximately 1,800 cfs and the minimum is approximately 240 cfs.
From Brassua Lake, water enters a concrete intake structure equipped with a trashrack with 3-inch clear bar spacing. Water flows through a 108-foot-long concrete penstock to the turbine-generator unit located in the powerhouse. From the powerhouse, water flows into a 40- foot-wide, 60-foot-long tailrace before emptying into the Moose River. Flows are also passed from the impoundment to the downstream reach of the Moose River through four 6-foot-diameter outlet pipes located at the base of the spillway section of the dam.
The existing Project reservoir, Brassua Lake, is approximately 7.75 miles long with a surface area of approximately 9,400 acres at normal maximum elevation of 1,074’. Along the impoundment, the Project boundary follows elevation 1,076 feet. The Project boundary encompasses the Project works and extends approximately 650 feet downstream of the dam1. The normal tailwater elevation for the Project is between 1,038’ and 1,040’, depending on spillway and unit discharge.