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October 29, 2003

St. Lawrence Hydropower Station Earns New 50-Year License

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a new 50-year operating license to the 912-megawatt St. Lawrence-FDR hydropower project on October 22nd. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) owns the project, located on the St. Lawrence River near Massena, New York. The project regulates the water levels in Lake Ontario by controlling its flow to the Atlantic Ocean. It has been producing power since 1958.

The relicensing of the facility involved a complicated settlement agreement among Native Americans, conservation groups, and local, state, and federal officials from both the United States and Canada. It includes a $24 million fund for fish enhancement and mitigation and the construction of a fish ladder to assist the upstream passage of the American eel. See the FERC press release.

New York Governor George E. Pataki lauded the new license, which NYPA applied for two years ago. The original license was due to expire in October. Although the St. Lawrence project is aging, NYPA is currently spending more than $254 million on a 15-year modernization and upgrade for the project's turbine generators. NYPA aims to complete the upgrade in 2013. See the governor's press release.