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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE11-61

July 20, 2011

CONTACT:

Farrell Sklerov / Angel Román (718) 595-6600  

DEP to Hold Informational Meetings About Proposed Hydroelectric Project

Opportunity for Public Discussion Project That Has the Potential to Supply Up to 15 Megawatts of Clean Energy


Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today invited local residents to attend two public meetings to discuss the results of studies on the impacts of a proposed hydroelectric project at city reservoirs in upstate New York. DEP currently holds a preliminary permit issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow it to study the development of hydroelectric facilities at the dams on three of the Delaware watershed reservoirs (Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink) and one of the Catskill watershed reservoirs (Schoharie), and issued a Request for Expressions of Interest in 2010 to solicit information from private parties interested in developing these potential projects. The meetings will include a presentation about the studies prepared by DEP, an opportunity for participants to comment on those results, and a discussion of the city's plans for seeking approval of the project from FERC. DEP is currently evaluating the results of the studies in order to determine the feasibility of constructing these hydroelectric facilities on the city's water supply system.

"We support the advancement of alternative energy sources, especially at our water and wastewater facilities that have tremendous potential for clean, renewable power," said Commissioner Holloway. "For upstate, hydroelectric power is a key part of our effort, potentially offering low-cost power while reducing DEP's carbon footprint and spurring economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner—a priority of PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg's sustainability blueprint for a greener, greater New York. We look forward to the input of our stakeholders and other interested parties as we proceed with the permit process."

"Advancement of hydro power at the West of Hudson Watershed Reservoirs remains an important priority for this region and the state as a whole," said Assemblyman Pete Lopez, who represents a number of communities within the New York City watershed. "I look forward to the upcoming meetings, and continue to encourage the City of New York to work with local interests to make the best shared use of this important resource."

DEP manages its dams and reservoirs to maximize supply to consumers and to continue to provide pure drinking water to the city and upstate consumers. However, water is also released for conservation purposes and to comply with downstream flow targets for the Delaware River, as prescribed under the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Decree. This water, along with water that would otherwise spill when the reservoirs are full, is available for hydroelectric energy production, without interfering with water supply operations. DEP  already takes advantage of the power of water to produce electricity with the operation of the its own hydroelectric facilities at East Delaware Tunnel Outlet and Neversink Tunnel Outlet hydroelectric facilities.  In addition, through partnerships with the New York Power Authority and Brookfield Renewable Power, water moving between reservoirs is used to produce clean energy at three additional DEP water supply facilities. The proposed projects are unique for DEP in that they would be the first on the dam releases.

Last year, DEP issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to gather information from entities interested in designing, building, financing, and/or operating hydroelectric plants on four of the New York City-owned dams and reservoirs in upstate New York. DEP has received seven responses from parties interested in working with the city in developing the project. DEP is evaluating the responses to the RFEI, and may decide to develop a Request for Qualifications which may be used to pre-qualify entities for a potential Request for Proposal.

The city intends to file its draft license application with FERC in September, and the final license application in the spring of 2012. During both these filings there will be an opportunity for public comment. Once FERC accepts the license application, there will be another public comment period in the lead-up to the environmental analysis.

DEP has scheduled two public meetings about the project. These meetings will provide an opportunity to learn about the project, including the licensing schedule, project design for Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink, and environmental studies. Details for the meetings are as follows:

Daytime:  
Kingston, New York
Thursday, July 21, 2011
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 
DEP Kingston Office
71 Smith Avenue
Kingston, NY 12401

Evening:
Walton, New York

Thursday, July 21, 2011
7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. 
Walton Town Hall
129 North Street
Walton, NY 13856

DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. New York City's water is delivered from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600