Three licensed storage projects (Flagstaff, Moosehead, and Moxie) on tributaries of the Kennebec River are operated by the KWPC which is owned by CMP, Edwards Manufacturing Co. Inc., Merimil Limited Partnership, Scott Paper Company and Madison Paper Industries. In conjunction with Brassua Hydro Limited Partnership, KWPC also operates a third project (Brassua) which is a combination generating and storage project, located on a tributary of Moosehead Lake. Regulated flow by KWPC is monitored at Madison.
In addition, KWPC currently operates one unlicensed storage dam (First Roach Pond Dam) located on a tributary of Moosehead Lake. This dam was most likely originally constructed to store water for log driving. This dam appears to be located either on navigable waters or on a non-navigable tributary of a navigable waterway. The State has asked FERC to review the licensing status of First Roach Lake dam, currently unlicensed. Because this dam poses potentially significant hazards to public safety and risks to the environment, the State would like to clarify regulatory authority for managing these risks. Action by FERC on this request is pending.
The Eustis Project and the Pittsfield/Burnham Project owned by Consolidated Hydro, Inc., and the Madison Project owned by Madison Electric Works Department have been found to be within FERC jurisdiction due to navigability; licensing consultation has been initiated.
Figure 2 -- Kennebec River Basin with Hydroelectric Generating Facilities
Owners of Brassua Dam/ Brassua Hydro Ltd. Partners
First Roach Dam1
Kennebec Water Power Co.
1 storage dams
2 a generating facility has been approved for this dam but has not yet been constructed
3 this is a generating facility but has no dam
Hydropower Potential. The hydropower potential of the Kennebec River has been examined using a method supplied by Central Maine Power27 which compares developed head to total available head.
The developed head of the Kennebec River is calculated as follows:
The total available head on the Kennebec River is 1,029 feet, the drop in elevation from Moosehead to Tidewater. Therefore, the proportion of the available head that has been developed can be calculated as follows:
% Developed = Total Developed Head = 532.5 * 100 = 51.7%
Total Available Head 1,029
A large proportion of the remaining 496.5 feet of available head has been protected from hydropower development.
Recommendations. As noted throughout this report, the Kennebec River serves multiple purposes and is utilized by citizens of our State in a wide variety of ways. One of the most important uses of the river is the generation of electricity through hydropower facilities. We are now utilizing an estimated 52% of the total hydropower potential of the Kennebec, beyond the utilization rate for any other use. As a general premise, it is assumed that the dams in the Kennebec River basin will continue to play a significant role in supplying a predictable quantity of energy at a predictable price to the State's energy consumers; however, each license to be renewed must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
After careful analysis of balances of uses and resources, the State finds that appropriate actions have been taken or have been proposed to be taken by the hydrodevelopers to achieve an appropriate balance at eight of the ten Kennebec Basin dams whose licenses expired in 1993.
At Fort Halifax, State and federal agencies recommend operation of the project in run of river mode during upstream anadromous migration (May 1 - June 30) and minimum flows of 350 -400 cfs during the rest of the year.
Analysis of Edwards Dam has resulted in a recommendation by the State that removal conditions be established during relicensing. Edwards Dam is unique among the Kennebec Basin's hydro facilities in terms of the potential benefit to be gained by its removal. It is located at head-of-tide on the Kennebec River which potentially provides the most significant anadromous fish habitat in the State.
In addition, removal of Edwards would actually reduce electric rates because power is currently purchased from the owners of Edwards at approximately 3 times the cost of replacement power. In present value terms, it will cost Maine ratepayers approximately $6.3 million if the Edwards Dam is relicensed and is permitted to operate from 1994 through 1998. The benefits of dam removal in the form of improved water quality, restored anadromous fisheries and increased recreational opportunities, and economic benefits derived from these beneficial uses outweigh the loss of 0.13% of the State's generating capacity (0.4% if the proposed expansion is considered), especially given the extraordinarily high cost of that capacity through 1998.
The removal of the existing Edwards hydroelectric dam is not recommended lightly. It is recognized that removal of any hydroelectric facility has costs as well as benefits, both of which can only be estimated. It further is recognized that dam removal is an extraordinary resource management tool that should be employed only in unusual situations. The balancing of the costs and benefits of all uses of the Kennebec River resource weighs strongly in favor of removing Edwards Dam for the reasons discussed at length in this Management Plan and in the referenced documents.
The recommendation for removal of the Edwards Dam does not represent either a sudden or a dramatic shift in State policy and should certainly not be interpreted as a precedent for management of other state water resources. As explained throughout this Management Plan, the Kennebec River is an unusual resource. Improving, developing, and conserving that resource calls for an unusual management tool. Readers should not interpret this recommendation as an invitation to seek wholesale removal of the State's hydroelectric dams.