The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors today approved a $200,000 recoverable grant through the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) Pre-Development Feasibility Study Program to help JAL Hydro, LLC, of North Kingstown, RI, develop a low-impact, run-of-river hydropower project.
So far in 2013, the REF has awarded $637,296 to 14 businesses and organizations in four rounds of funding under new rules and regulations approved by the board in December 2012 that provide enhanced structure and transparency to the fund.
"Rhode Island's network of rivers and existing dams represent an opportunity to harness hydropower to generate clean electricity," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "JAL Hydro is moving in a direction we, as a state, want to go. Through Renewable Energy funding, we can support hydropower and further utilize our natural resources."
"With this fourth round of funding, we continue to support exciting projects within our communities that contribute to cost-effective and reliable electricity production and strengthen the state's leadership in renewable energy," said Marcel A. Valois, RIEDC Executive Director.
"Harnessing a cleaner way to produce energy has been of great interest to me over the years," said Bob Cioe of JAL Hydro. "Now, with EDC's confidence and working with various state agencies, our team enthusiastically embarks on an exciting opportunity to use Rhode Island's natural resources in an innovative and sustainable manner."
The Pre-Development Feasibility Study Program provides recoverable grants for 75 percent of the approved project cost. The $200,000 awarded to JAL represent less than half the funds needed for the project, with the owner contributing the remaining amount.
The purpose of the pre-development feasibility study is to support the development of two Archimedes Screw Generators with a combined power output of 296 kW in the Natick Pond Dam in West Warwick, RI. The generators will be supplied by New England Hydropower Company LLC (NEHC), who has pioneered the introduction of this proven technology and its acceptance in the United States. NEHC has partnered with JAL on all aspects of the West Warwick Project including the general activities REF funding will cover prior to construction including: (1) the development of information, proposed studies and site investigations required to support federal, state, and local licensing and permitting; (2) preliminary design, structural engineering and interconnection; (3) license and permit preparation; and (4) final engineering design.
Michael Kerr, CEO of NEHC, said, "We are really pleased to be working with JAL Hydro on this first Archimedes Hydro Screw project in the U.S. We have a true partnership in all facets of the development."
JAL was established in Rhode Island for the express purpose of developing and operating small, low-impact hydropower facilities that incorporate innovative, efficient, environmentally friendly technologies not yet deployed in New England. JAL has performed an initial feasibility assessment supporting the development of a low-impact, run-of-river hydropower project at the Natick Pond Dam in West Warwick. Following that assessment, JAL acquired a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 21, 2013. This permit provides exclusive authorization to JAL to engage in pre-development activities.
For more information on the REF and how to apply for additional rounds of funding, visit http://www.edc.ri.gov/finance/REF.php.