South Carolina City Surrenders Hydropower Project


In an order issued on December 22, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the license surrender requested by City of Spartanburg, SC for its Clifton Mills No. 1 Hydroelectric Project located on the Pacolet River in Spartanburg County.

The City acquired the project from Clifton Power Corporation in 2010 with the intention of reviving the 800kW project. However, an assessment by the City revealed that the project would cost in excess of $8 million.

Coalition member American River had requested the City to consider total dam removal in order to increase flows in the river and gain ecological benefits. However, FERC staff, in their environmental analysis, recommended that desired enhancement of environmental conditions in the project area would be achieved under the City’s proposal to decommission the project. The City proposes to

  • install fences around the powerhouse to prevent entry,
  • remove the three Tainter gates, and
  • plug the penstocks with cement at the intake and forebay and abandon in place.

The City estimates that these measures would cost about $105,000 and one year to implement.