RALEIGH, N.C. (April 26, 2004) -- Ongoing studies, related to Progress Energy's efforts to renew the operating license for its Tillery and Blewett hydroelectric plants, will affect water levels along the Pee Dee River this summer and fall.
As part of the license renewal process with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Progress Energy will conduct extensive environmental studies and water flow modeling. 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.
Water releases are currently slated for May 8-12 and June 7-15. Progress Energy anticipates that the lakes may fall to around 4 feet below normal levels during this period. However, up to a 7-foot water level drop is possible. 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.
Progress Energy encourages people who have boats docked in the lakes to make appropriate arrangements to handle the expected lake level fluctuations.
Environmental researchers will be on the river and lakes before and after the water is released.
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.
Other planned water releases in support of environmental studies will occur later this year, probably in September or October. Specific dates for the fall releases will be communicated to area residents and the public closer to the events.
All dates are subject to change depending upon the prevailing weather patterns, the amount of precipitation and lake inflow.
"We appreciate the patience of local residents and those who use the waters of our lakes and the Pee Dee River," said Phil Lucas, Progress Energy's project manager for hydro relicensing. "These studies are critical in our effort to develop local solutions within this process that balance environmental, recreational and operational needs."
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 lakes and river. Results of these studies will be filed with the FERC when Progress Energy submits its application for license renewal in April 2006.
More information, including information about plant relicensing, details of Lake Tillery's Shoreline Management Plan and up-to-the-hour information on lake levels can be found at the company's Web site at: www.progress-energy.com/hydro.
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 more than 2.8 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Progress Energy also includes nonregulated operations covering 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 www.progress-energy.com.
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