July 10, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has preliminarily approved Low Impact Certification for the Piercefield 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 “Piercefield 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 August 9, 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 #156) will be April 26, 2019 for a term of five (5) years, which will expire on April 25, 2024.

May 1, 2019: The Low Impact Hydropower Institute has received a complete application for Low Impact Certification of the Piercefield 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 “Piercefield 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 30, 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.

Project Description:

The Piercefield Hydroelectric Project is located at river mile 88.5 on the Raquette River near the Town of Piercefield in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties in New York. The Project was originally constructed in 1913 and is owned by Erie Boulevard Hydropower, LLC (Brookfield Renewable Energy Group).  Upstream of the Project is the Setting Pole Dam, owned by the Town of Tupper Lake.  Downstream are numerous hydroelectric developments, including the Upper Raquette River (LIHI #14A), Middle Raquette River (LIHI #14B), and the Lower Raquette River (LIHI #14C).

The Project was most recently relicensed by FERC on October 27, 2005.  On October 11, 2017 FERC issued an Order accelerating the current license expiration date to October 31, 2035 in order to align with the other Erie-owned projects on the Raquette River having license expiration dates in that timeframe.

Project Name Piercefield
Owner Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
State New York
Location River Mile 88.5 on the Raquette River
Installed Capacity 2.7 MW
Average Annual Generation 16,520 MWh
Facility Type Modified run of river
FERC No. 7387

The Project consists of the Piercefield dam which includes a 495-foot-long retaining wall/dike on the right shoreline, a 620-foot-long retaining wall located along the left shoreline, a 118-foot-long stanchion type stop log spillway, a 294-foot-long, 22-foot-high ogee spillway section with an Obermeyer inflatable 2-foot flashboard system, and a 110-foot-long forebay retaining wall. The dam impounds a 370-acre reservoir that extends approximately 1.9 miles upstream.  A 550-foot-long bypassed reach is created by the Project. The powerhouse contains one vertical Francis unit and two horizontal double Francis units with a total installed capacity of 2.7 MW.

The Project is operated in a modified run‐of‐river mode with a 1‐foot operational band that cannot be used for pulsing or peaking operations.  A minimum base flow of 150 cfs or inflow, whichever is less, is maintained in the Raquette River below the project tailrace.  Erie maintains a downstream movement facility in the stanchion spillway and a plunge pool and flow channel as necessary to provide a downstream fish movement flow of 20 cfs and terrestrial habitat for amphibians and other macroinvertebrates.

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