From Water Wiki
Operations at Kerr Lake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the principal decision maker on operations. The purposes served by the dam's operation are authorized or required by Federal law, and USACE is also required to consider the impacts of its practices on wildlife  and maintain compliance with other federal laws.A team from UNC-Chapel Hill, including Profs. Richard Whisnant at the School of Government; Greg Characklis, at the School of Public Health; Martin Doyle in the Department of Geography; Victor Flatt at the Law School; and graduate student Jordan Kern has produced a study of the Corps' ability to make operational changes at Kerr Lake.
Authorized by Section 10 of the Flood Control Act of 1944, Pub. L. 78-534, 58 Stat. 887, 894, USACE describes the John H. Kerr Dam and Lake project as "authorized for recreation, flood control, hydroelectric power generation, fish and wildlife, and water supply." The Flood Control Act authorized work at this location for "the benefit of navigation and the control of destructive flood waters and other purposes." The act also permits the lake to be used for recreation and allows excess power generated at the dam (currently estimated at some 426,749,000 kWh per year) to be marketed and sold. Water supply storage was later authorized as a purpose for USACE reservoirs by the Water Supply Act of 1958, Pub. L. 85-500, 72 Stat. 319, 319, and USACE has been instructed to complete calculations that would allow it to enter in to a permanent water supply contract with the Kerr Lake Regional Water System and the city of Henderson, North Carolina by the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.
In operating the dam at Kerr Lake, USACE is required by federal regulations to develop a Water Control Plan “to comform[sic] with objectives and specific provisions of authorizing legislation and applicable Corps of Engineers reports” that gives “appropriate consideration to all applicable Congressional Acts relating to operation of Federal facilities, i.e., Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (Pub. L. 85-624), Federal Water Project Recreation Act-Uniform Policies (Pub. L. 89-72), National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-190), and Clean Water Act of 1977 (Pub. L. 95-217).” These plans must be kept up to date through continuing and progressive study. 
Decisions that require documentation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Federal regulations outline what actions on the part of USACE require some sort of environmental review, as well as a range of actions that are exempt from environmental review. 33 C.F.R. 230.6 declares that an Environmental Assessment (EA) and/or an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is normally required when the Corps takes any of the following actions, each of which would constitute a significant growth or change in operations: conducting a feasibility report for the authorization and construction of major projects; proposing changes in projects that increase size substantially or add additional purposes; and proposing major changes in the operation and/or maintenance of completed projects. What constitutes a "major change" in operation and/or maintenance is not specified.
On the other hand, activities at completed projects that carry out the authorized project purposes are categorically excluded from having to produce NEPA documentation. Examples of such actions, from the regulations at 33 C.F.R. 230.9(b), include routine operation and maintenance actions, general administration, equipment purchases, custodial actions, erosion control, painting, repair, rehabilitation, replacement of existing structures and facilities such as buildings, roads, levees, groins and utilities, and installation of new buildings utilities, or roadways in developed areas.
There are many stakeholders and several key decision makers involved in the operations of Kerr Lake, as with other federally managed reservoirs.
Interested institutional parties include the States of North Carolina and Virginia, notably their water resources and wildlife agencies; The Nature Conservancy, which has made the Lower Roanoke river downstream of the lake one of their major areas of focus for conservation; water supply customers such as the Kerr Lake Regional Water System and City of Henderson (see "congressional authorizations," above); potential water supply customers; the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) (website here), which markets surplus power from federally managed impoundments at rates approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); and purchasers of this power, including a private, investor-owned utility, Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D) and its corporate subsidiaries, particularly Dominion Generation, as well as public power entities such as the Electricities and Electric Coops.
The following flow charts are based on information from the USACE Water Control Manual for Kerr Lake and the Water Wiki. They are meant to conceptualize the flow of electricity, water, and dollars through the Kerr Lake system. The current version of the Water Control Manual available on the USACE website is dated 1995; therefore, some information contained in the flow charts is speculative. As more current information becomes available, the flow charts will be amended.
Electricities in particular
The NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) , members of which are shown in green on the map on this page, may use some power from SEPA, although it
purchases additional capacity and energy to meet the needs of the members through a Supplemental Load Agreement through December 31, 2017 with Progress Energy Company (PEC). Under this contract, NCEMPA agreed to purchase from PEC and PEC agreed to sell to NCEMPA, supplemental capacity and associated energy to meet all the remaining requirements of the members through the term of this agreement. The contract represents about 25 percent of NCEMPA’s total annual energy needs and roughly 35 percent to 40 percent of NCEMPA’s average monthly capacity requirements.
The graphic to the right shows SEPA's 2004 sales to NCEMPA and other North Carolina customers.
The NC Municipal Power Agency Number 1, members of which are shown in blue on the map, notes in its 2007 CAFR that it has the right to purchase 60 MW from SEPA. Since these members are in Piedmont and western N.C., does this SEPA power include power from operations at Kerr?
The SEPA Annual Report for 2004 (latest available on the SEPA website as of June 30, 2008) notes:
Amendments were agreed to, effective January 1, 2004, to the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) members’ customer contracts in the VEPCO [now Dominion] service area. These amendments allow members to self-schedule their allocations of government power. Preference customers in their area designated NCEMC as their scheduling agent and Southeastern negotiated a scheduling contract with NCEMC, also effective January 1, 2004.
Here are the SEPA sales to North Carolina customers from SEPA's Ga/Al/SC (non-Kerr) generation in 2004; they appear to cover the sales to NCMPA1: North Carolina Blue Ridge EMC 7,311 12,488,560 460,970.19 EnergyUnited EMC 16,302 27,942,291 1,029,036.28 Haywood EMC 926 1,608,186 58,555.79 Pee Dee EMC 455 784,896 28,707.48 Rutherford EMC 24,018 40,893,475 1,512,734.04 Union EMC 11,633 20,294,715 736,728.79 City of Cherryville 1,478 1,059,024 75,094.19 City of Concord 8,007 6,198,861 500,192.39 City of Gastonia 15,971 11,439,536 811,404.60 City of Kings Mountain 2,896 2,241,343 180,903.12 City of Lincolnton 1,577 1,129,294 80,116.15 City of Monroe 7,693 5,511,439 390,856.24 City of Morganton 9,535 16,617,376 603,102.37 City of Newton 2,067 1,479,818 105,005.09 City of Shelby 5,892 4,219,413 299,332.01 City of Statesville 9,705 6,951,018 493,056.71 Town of Bostic 412 723,891 26,130.73 Town of Cornelius 361 258,762 18,342.90 Town of Dallas 1,299 1,004,785 81,137.26 Town of Drexel 879 1,535,153 55,637.41 Town of Forest City 2,721 2,106,797 169,982.21 Town of Granite Falls 828 592,759 42,062.67 Town of Huntersville 490 350,528 24,889.00 Town of Landis 1,098 785,793 55,775.62 Town of Maiden 1,235 884,033 62,737.22 Town of Pineville 490 350,528 24,889.00 North Carolina Total 135,279 169,452,274 $7,927,379.46
- ↑ See Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, Pub. L. 85-624, 72 Stat. 563, 564 (1958).
- ↑ USACE general description of the Kerr Lake project at http://epec.saw.usace.army.mil/KERRDESC.TXT.
- ↑ 58 Stat. at 891.
- ↑ 58 Stat. at 889.
- ↑ 58 Stat. at 890.
- ↑ Pub. L. 110-114 Sec. 5115, 121 Stat. 1041, 1238 (2007).
- ↑ 33 C.F.R. 222.5(f)
- ↑ Electricities CAFR 2007, from Electricities website, downloaded 6.30.2008.
- ↑ SEPA Annual Report 2004, p. 7.