FERC allows extra time for evaluation of 77-MW Alaska hydro project

On May 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Soule Hydro LLC a second preliminary permit on a 77-MW hydroelectric project in Alaska.

A preliminary permit allows the applicant the right to look into developing a project without fear of a competing proposal from another party.

In September 2012, Soule Hydrofiled an application to study the feasibility of the proposed Soule River Hydroelectric Project No. 13528-001, to be located on the Soule River within the Ketchikan Recording District, near Hyder, Alaska. The project is located on U.S. Forest Service lands in the Tongass National Forest. 

The proposed project would include: a 265-foot-high, 903-foot-long main dam; a 265-foot-high, 2,024 feet-long saddle dam adjacent to the main dam;  a storage reservoir with a surface area of 1,072 acres and active storage capacity of 91,800 acre-feet; a 16-foot-diameter, 11,400-foot-long conduit tunnel; a 80-foot–wide, 160–foot-long powerhouse with three Francis-type turbine/generator units with a total installed capacity of 77 MW; and a 138-kV, 700-foot-long buried transmission line across the Soule River connecting to a 10-mile-long submarine cable across the Portland Canal and ending with a 2.5-mile-long overhead line to the point of interconnection at the existing British Columbia Hydro substation near Stewart. The estimated annual generation of the project would be 283 gigawatt-hours. 

Alaska Power & Telephone previously held a preliminary permit for this site under Project No. 12615-000. This permit expired in June 2009.  Before the expiration of its permit, in May 2008, Alaska Power & Telephone was granted approval and initiated the alternative licensing process (ALP) for the project. Commission staff will continue to process the ALP under this preliminary permit. In September 2009, the commission issued Soule Hydro a three-year preliminary permit that expired in August 2012.

“Soule Hydro has provided information to Commission staff showing that it is currently making progress with the analysis of the project’s feasibility, and towards the development of this project,” the May 20 decision said. “It is expected that during this permit term, agency consultation will be conducted and license application will be prepared pursuant to section 4.38 and 4.41 of the Commission’s regulations.”

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.