The possible removal in 2003 of Fort Halifax dam on the Sebasticook river in Winslow, US, has united local residents against groups lobbying to remove the dam.

Residents say the removal of the dam, owned by FPL Energy Group, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, would change the wildlife habitat and the lifestyle of residents and visitors who use the river.

The issue is being debated as FPL’s federal licence to generate power requires the utility to install a fish lift or fish elevator to facilitate the passage of anadromous fish, or to remove the dam altogether.

The Fort Halifax dam was built in 1908, where the Kennebec river meets the Sebasticook river.

Kennebec Coalition, which has argued for a fish ladder and other measures to restore the river, says FPL might consider removal of the dam as the conditions imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to renew the licence may cost up to US$4M.

The Kennebec Coalition is formed by groups who aim to return the Kennebec river and its larger tributaries to to their natural flow, and to restore traditional spawning grounds for several species of sea run fish, including Atlantic Salmon.

…but lobbying delays Scottish hydro plans

Delays due to opposition by environmentalists is threatening the viability of a hydro project which envisages the building of four dams in the Flowerdale and Sheildaig deer forests in Wester Ross, Scotland, UK.

The scheme proposed by Dundee-based Highland Light and Power (HLL) comes under consideration by the Scottish Executive in late 2001. HLL was originally granted a 15-year generating contract that started in 1999, but so far has not been able to get the project off the ground. After a five-week public enquiry in 1997, original plans for the project were withdrawn by HLL.

The company is now preparing to submit an expanded and revised application for the four dams, which it believes addresses all environmental concerns.

When the contract was awarded in 1999, it was part of the anticipated new hydroelectric schemes aimed at contributing to Scotland’s renewable energy targets by the end of 2001.