New Vs. Old? A New Capacity Question Facing Hydropower Redevelopers

by Lewis E. Leibowitz, Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin &, Kahn, Washington, DC, USA,
Michael J. Kurman, Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin &, Kahn, Washington, DC, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Power '87


Determining the extent of PURPA-qualified 'new capacity' which may be created as a result of the modification/rebuild/redevelopment of existing projects is a 'new' capacity question presenting complex issues for hydropower redevelopers and investors. Factors such as the declining availability of prime hydro sites, and the new restrictions on PURPA benefits for projects at new dams or diversions, have magnified the significance of this legal question and increased its financial stakes for the hydro redevelopment industry. This paper summarizes the significance of the new versus old capacity question, and reviews the FERC decisions and several relevant state cases to illustrate the line between new and old capacity. The paper also identifies two important cases in Maine, in which 'new capacity' was created as a result of the rewind and/or conversion of existing generators.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Dams | Legal affairs | Financial management | Industries | Power plants | Maintenance | Construction management | Maine | United States

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