The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the first installation of a hydrokinetic device at an existing hydroelectric project to be located on the Mississippi River in Hastings, Minn.

Hydrokinetic devices generate electricity from waves or directly from the flow of water in ocean currents, tides or inland waterways. This is the first time FERC has approved the installation of a hydrokinetic device at an existing project.

The licensee for the existing project— the city of Hastings—plans to install two 35-kilowatt hydrokinetic units suspended below a floating barge in the tailrace of the dam. The hydrokinetic units would have an average annual generation of 364 megawatt-hours.

FERC staff completed an environmental assessment of the proposal in September 2008. This commission order adopts some of the recommendations in that environmental assessment, including additional water quality monitoring, a broader approach to evaluating fish entrainment and survival, development of a control plan for zebra mussels, and development and implementation of a bird monitoring plan.

In addition, the licensee is required to immediately modify turbine operation or remove the turbine or barge if monitoring results show adverse effects on water quality, fish or diving birds.