FERC relicenses Exelon’s 570.15-MW Conowingo Hydroelectric Project in Maryland

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a new 50-year operating license to Exelon Generation Company LLC’s 570.15-MW Conowingo Hydroelectric Project.

The project is located on the Susquehanna River in Lancaster and York Counties, Pa., and Cecil and Harford Counties, Md. The powerhouse produces about 1,934,501 MWh of electricity annually.

The original 50-year operating license for the project was issued in February 1926. A new license was issued in August 1980 and expired in August 2014. Exelon filed its application for a new license in August 2012. Exelon has since operated the project under an annual license. The new license is effective March 1, 2021.

FERC says its order resolves a complex proceeding that has been pending for almost eight years and incorporates settlements involving Exelon, the Department of the Interior and the Maryland Department of the Environment. The license includes conditions to enhance fish migration, protect bald eagles and other wildlife, upgrade 13 public recreation sites, address sediment issues and protect archaeological and historic sites.

Late last year, Hydro Review reported that the Maryland Environmental Service (MES), on behalf of the State of Maryland, was moving forward with the first portion of the Conowingo Dredging and Innovative and Beneficial Reuse Pilot Project. Scientific reports confirm that Conowingo Dam has reached full capacity and can no longer prevent pollution from entering Chesapeake Bay. Governor Larry Hogan’s Administration’s strategy includes conditions relating to the proposed relicensing of the dam; the pilot project on beneficial reuse of dredged material; and a multi-state Watershed Implementation Plan, specifically to mitigate the effects of upstream discharges and the lost trapping capacity of Conowingo Dam on Chesapeake Bay restoration.

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