EDF Renewable taking over 1,000-MW hydro project in Pacific Northwest

EDF Renewable Development is in the process of taking over the 1,000-MW Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Project, said EDF Renewable Energy in a May 21 report to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The company was responding to a May 10 “Overdue Progress Report” letter from FERC’s Office of Energy Projects to Brent Smith of Symbiotics LLC. EDF instead filed the overdue report, which is the first of the mandated six-month reports for the project since the issuance by FERC last November of a second preliminary permit for the project, which expires Oct. 31, 2015.

The preliminary permit for this project is held by Swan Lake North Hydro LLC. That project company is owned as a joint venture by Swan Lake Holdings LLC and EDF Renewable Development (formerly enXco Development Corp.) (EDF-RD). Swan Lake Holdings is managed by Symbiotics, which has also administered the project on behalf of the permit holder.

“EDF-RD is in the process of assuming control of the management of the Permittee,” noted the May 21 letter to FERC. “The parties are in the process of preparing formal documentation to memorialize that change, at which point we will file appropriate requests to change the FERC primary and secondary contact and service list information. In the meantime, however, and to assure FERC preliminary permit requirements are fully addressed, EDF-RD staff, acting on behalf of Permittee Swan Lake North Hydro, LLC, submits this Progress Report.”

Design evaluation for the project has led to the following actions:

  • In Fall 2012, EDF-RD’s affiliate, Centre d’Ingenierie Hydraulique-Electricite de France (EDF CIH) – the preeminent developer of pumped storage hydroelectric facilities world-wide – was requested to finalize the project design in furtherance of completing the final license application.
  • EDF CIH staff proposed supplemental geotechnical studies be pursued, the first phase of which were commissioned and performed during the winter of 2012-2013.
  • Results of the studies are being analyzed and will be incorporated into the final license application.
  • The second phase of the geotechnical studies, focused on the upper reservoir, is planned to commence early in the third quarter of 2013.

At this time, the company said it anticipates submitting a final license application in the fourth quarter of 2013. The second progress report, due Oct. 31, 2013, will provide any additional updates regarding that status for the commission’s consideration.

Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Project No. 13318 would be located near Klamath Falls in Klamath County, Ore., and Newell in Modoc County, Calif. The proposed project would include:

  • a 111-foot-high, 6,560-foot-long rockfill east dam, and a 111-foot-high, 5,990-foot-long rockfill west dam enclosing an upper reservoir;
  • a 100-foot-high, 5,245-foot-long rockfill main dam, and a 9-foot-high, 360-foot-long rockfill saddle dam enclosing a lower reservoir;
  • a 30-foot-diameter, 2,570-foot-long horizontal power tunnel; a 30-foot-diameter, 1,200-foot-long vertical shaft;
  • a 30-foot-diameter, 1,000-foot-long high pressure steel-lined penstock branching into four 12.25-foot-diameter, 640-foot-long steel-lined penstocks going into the underground powerhouse;
  • an underground powerhouse with four 250-MW reversible pump-turbine units with a total installed capacity of 1,000 MW; and
  • approximately 33 miles of 500-kV transmission line connecting to a terminal switchyard to be constructed adjacent to the existing California Oregon Transmission Project 500-kV line in California.

The project would be a closed-loop system using groundwater and would not use any existing surface body of water. The estimated annual generation of the project would be 2,630 gigawatt-hours.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.