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Cheat Lake owner ‘has no plans’ to sell land

The individual leading re-licensure efforts for the Lake Lynn (Cheat Lake) Hydroelectric Project told The Dominion Post the project’s owner “has no plans” to sell any property surrounding the lake. 

As previously reported, the current Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the Lake Lynn Project was issued on Dec. 27, 1994, and expires on Nov. 30, 2024. 

As part of its application for a new license, Lake Lynn Generation is asking FERC to approve removal of a total of 307 acres of lakeside property across eight locations from the utility project’s footprint. 

Residents are concerned FERC approval could result in that property ultimately being sold for development. 

In an emailed response to Wednesday’s report on the topic, Jody Smet, chief compliance officer and vice president of regulatory affairs for Lake Lynn Generation and Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, said the property isn’t needed for project purposes but won’t be sold. 

“Our filings with FERC are clear that this land will be retained by Lake Lynn Generations, LLC. Stewardship is a company value, and we are committed to protecting the lake and the lands around it. Lake Lynn Generation, LLC has no plans to sell property removed from the project boundary.” 

Smet also took exception to the claim that Cheat Lake is ultimately owned by the provincial government of Ontario, Canada, as an asset of Ontario Power Generation, a crown company with a single government shareholder. 

“Lake Lynn Generation, LLC, although it is an indirect subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation, operates as an independent U.S. company, and has been the owner/operator of the Lake Lynn hydroelectric project since February 2015.” 

But as its FERC application explains, Lake Lynn Generation is a subsidiary of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, which is itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation. 

Eagle Creek’s website lists Lake Lynn among its 85 operating facilities in the United States. 

But Smet actually cleared all this up years ago while working for Cheat Lake’s previous owner, Cube Hydro.  

What follows was taken from the minutes of a public meeting held at the Cheat Lake Volunteer Fire Department in December 2019. 

“Ms. Smet stated that Cube purchased the Project in 2014 and provided a brief overview of Cube. She explained that the Project is an asset of Cube and that Cube and its assets were recently acquired by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Eagle Creek Renewable Energy (Eagle Creek) (a subsidiary of OPG) in October 2019. She stated that the two companies now collectively own and operate a total of 85 hydropower projects in the United States.” 

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