Brascan Power New York has filed a settlement agreement for its School Street hydroelectric project with federal regulators that will protect fish and wildlife, increase power generation and create new recreational access and viewing areas at Cohoes Falls in the City of Cohoes New York, US.
The settlement agreement, filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the 38.8MW hydroelectric generating facility on the Mohawk river is the result of a collaboration between Brascan Power, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the City of Cohoes, New York Rivers United, New York State Conservation Council, New York Power Authority, the Rensselear County Conservation Alliance and numerous other stakeholders.
In addition, Cohoes Mayor John T. McDonald III included a letter accompanying the settlement filing with FERC. As the Cohoes City Council moves toward a vote on a resolution of support for the project, Mayor McDonald said: ‘I believe that the settlement agreement provides the City of Cohoes and the surrounding region with important opportunities to enhance the access to the project area for recreation and a renewed appreciation of Cohoes Falls, while maintaining the hydroelectric generating capacity of this historic facility.’
‘The increased water flow resulting from this agreement will also enhance the aquatic habitat in one of the last remaining stretches of the lower Mohawk river not inundated by dams,’ said Bruce R. Carpenter, executive director of New York Rivers United. ‘We are pleased that Brascan has worked cooperatively with all stakeholders and agencies to provide a new framework for operations that recognizes the important resource value of the Mohawk river.’
‘Brascan has treated our people with respect and has shown great concern for the cultural needs of the Haudenosaunee,’ added Barbara Gray, administrator of the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs. ‘We look forward to building, strengthening, and continuing our relationship with them over the years to come.’
Under the agreement, Brascan will:
• Ensure continuous water release over the Cohoes Falls, with water flow doubled on weekends and holidays from May through October.
• Create new viewing areas and access improvements, including a new footbridge over the power canal and a new observation area at the crest and base of the falls – scenic vantage points never before open to the public.
• Collaborate with Native American Nations, the National Park Service and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to develop a Historic Properties Management Plan. The Plan will ensure continued respect for the site’s historical and spiritual significance to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, preservation of National Historic Landmark properties at the project, and recognition of the area’s historical importance.
• Increase power generation capacity from 38.8MW to approximately 50MW, which represents a ‘right-sizing’ of the facility for this portion of the Mohawk river.
• Implement state-of-the-art fish protection and passage technology.
• Participate in continued development of the ‘next generation’ turbine, building on recent work by the US Department of Energy.