Thursday, May 30, 2013

Feds deny late entry into Alcoa hydro relicensing

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission won't let a New Hampshire private equity fund join the Alcoa hydro relicensing case on the Yadkin River.

As recounted in today's Observer, New Energy Capital Partners made a late -- like six years late -- bid to intervene in Alcoa's bid for a new license to control four dams on 38 miles of the Yadkin.

The fund claimed Alcoa's intention was to secure the new license and flip the Yadkin project, as it did last year with a hydro project in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee that sold for nearly $600 million. Alcoa doesn't deny Yadkin could be sold at some point.

New Energy proposed an alternative. A public agency or the fund itself could buy Alcoa's assets and somehow, eventually, transfer them back to public ownership. It offered no details on the mechanics of such a move.

But FERC's order says the fund didn't show the "good cause" needed to allow late interventions.

With backing from Stanly County, its dogged rival for control of the Yadkin (the two settled their differences this month), Alcoa needs only a North Carolina water-quality certification for FERC to approve the new license.