RALEIGH, N.C. (August 30, 2004) -- Progress Energy will conduct environmental studies along Lake Tillery, Blewett Falls Lake and the Pee Dee River (downstream of the dams) from September 9-17, 2004.
These studies are part of ongoing work related to relicensing Progress Energy's Blewett and Tillery hydroelectric facilities. As part of the license renewal process with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Progress Energy has conducted extensive environmental studies and water flow modeling throughout 2004. These studies involve releasing water from the lakes to evaluate river flow patterns downstream of the power plants and potential effects on the plants, fish, wildlife and the general ecology of the lake and river system.
From Sept. 9-17, water levels in the lakes will fluctuate, and may drop 4 to 6 feet below normal operating levels for a few days. Water flows downriver of each plant may also be noticeably impacted. These changes may be affected by rainfall or other inflows to the river and lakes. Water levels should return to normal within a few days after the study period.
Environmental researchers will be on the river and lakes before and after the water is released.
Progress Energy encourages people who have boats docked in the lakes to make appropriate arrangements to handle the expected lake level fluctuations.
All dates are subject to change depending upon the prevailing weather patterns, the amount of precipitation and lake inflow.
Progress Energy has been working closely over the past year with state and federal natural resource agencies, as well as environmental organizations and other interested parties, to develop a series of studies that will investigate the interaction of power plant operations and the environment.
"The Sept. 9 -- 17 period marks our last study for 2004," said Phil Lucas, Progress Energy's project manager for hydro relicensing. "We have learned a great deal during the previous study periods and expect to gain more insights with this last round of studies. We greatly appreciate the patience and cooperation of area residents and recreational users of the lakes and river throughout this process."
More information about water levels at Blewett Falls Lake and Lake Tillery will be available by calling 1-800-899-4435 or on the Progress Energy website www.progress-energy.com/hydro .
The original license for the Tillery and Blewett plants, issued in 1958, will expire in 2008. The planned environmental studies are necessary to evaluate the effects of power plant operations on aquatic life in the lake and river. Results of these studies will be filed with the FERC when Progress Energy submits its application for license renewal in April 2006.
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 250 diversified energy company with more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues. The company's holdings include two electric utilities serving approximately 2.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Progress Energy also includes nonregulated operations covering competitive generation, energy marketing, natural gas production, fuel extraction, rail services and broadband capacity. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company's Web site at http://www.progress-energy.com.