The terms of the new licence addresses allocation of power and also includes habitat improvement projects. The licence will run consecutively from the expiration of the current licence on 1 September 2007 and have a period of 50 years.

Under the new terms, the owner – the New York Power Authority – must make at least half of the power available to public bodies and non-profit cooperatives under a ‘preference’ scheme.

The ‘preference’ scheme also requires that 20% of the project’s power be made available to neighbouring states to New York – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Further terms of the new licence include the power authority undertaking eight habitat improvement projects, establishing an ecological committee to help implement the habitat improvements, greater public access and recreational provision,.

A capital fund is also to be set up reduce groundwater ingress to the Niagara Water Board’s Falls Street Tunnel. The infiltration has ‘significantly’ increased the City of Niagara’s water treatment costs, FERC said.

The Niagara project has two plants – the 2515.5MW Robert Moses facility with 13 generating units, and the 240MW Lewiston pumped storage station containing 12 generating units