The Hydraulic Race Hydroelectric Project is located on the New York State (Erie) Barge Canal System in the Town of Lockport, NY in Niagara County.  The Project is owned by Erie Boulevard Hydropower, LLC (Brookfield Renewable Energy Group).  The Project was constructed in 1942 and is exempt from FERC licensing as a qualifying conduit project.

As a conduit facility, this Project draws water from the Erie Canal at Lock No. 35 and discharges it below Lock No. 34. Water is supplied to this portion of the Erie Canal from Tonawanda Creek, Ellicott Creek, and the Niagara River. The New York State Canal Corporation is responsible for the operation of Lock Nos. 34 and 35 and for maintaining operating water levels in the downstream section of the canal.  Control of water release and the resulting generation from the project is achieved by the Erie Canal Lock Operator adjusting the discharge of water from the canal.

Locks 34 and 35, Erie Canal (new locks on left, old locks on right)

The powerhouse contains one vertical Kaplan unit with a total installed capacity of 4.9 MW but it has a 3.4 MW maximum capability due to the hydraulic limitations of the canal.  Generation is limited to the navigation season which is from approximately May 1 to December 1 each year. During the non-navigation season, the canal is dewatered.

Project Name Hydraulic Race
LIHI Certificate No.
155
LIHI Certification Term
April 15, 2019 – April 14, 2029
Owner Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
State New York
Location New York State Barge Canal (Erie Canal) between Lock 34 and 35
Installed Capacity 4.867 MW (3.4 MW maximum capability due to hydraulic limitations of conduit)
Average Annual Generation 10,800 MWh
Facility Type Conduit
FERC No. 2424 exempt

Certification History

August 8, 2019: The decision to certify the Hydraulic Race Hydroelectric Project is final. No appeals were received during the appeal period which closed on July 19, 2019. The new certification term for the Project is from April 15, 2019 through April 14, 2029.

June 19, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Hydraulic Race Hydroelectric Project.

This decision is preliminary pending the 30-day appeal window. Only those who commented on the initial application during the 60-day comment period are eligible to file an appeal. Such appeal needs to include an explanation as to how the Project does not meet the LIHI criteria. Appeal requests can be submitted by email to comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Hydraulic Race Hydroelectric Project” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Ave, Suite 6, Lexington, MA 02420. All requests will be posted to the website.  The applicant will have an opportunity to respond and any response will also be posted. Requests must be received by 5 pm Eastern time on July 19, 2019.  The full application and reviewers report are available below.

If no appeal requests are received and the decision becomes final, the Certification term for the Project (pending LIHI #155) will be April 15, 2019 for a term of ten (10) years, which will expire on April 14, 2029.

April 17, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Certification of the Hydraulic Race Hydroelectric 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 comments@lowimpacthydro.org with “Hydraulic Race Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, 329 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 6, Lexington, MA 02420.  Comments must be received on or before 5 pm Eastern time on June 16, 2019 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.

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