FERC won’t rehear rejections by staff of two hydro preliminary permits

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 16 denied a rehearing request from the Greybull Valley Irrigation District related to a FERC staff decision to not grant a third set of preliminary permits for two, 5-MW hydro projects.

On Jan. 11, commission staff issued orders denying Greybull’s applications for third preliminary permits for the Upper Sunshine Reservoir Hydroelectric Project No. 12595-002 and the Lower Sunshine Reservoir Hydroelectric Project No. 12604-002. The proposed projects would be located on the Greybull River and Sunshine Creek, near Meeteetse in Park County, Wyo.

A preliminary permit gives a party the exclusive right to evaluate a given project, with a need to apply for a full permit if the decision is to actually develop the project.

  • In May 2005, Greybull filed an application for a preliminary permit to study the Upper Sunshine Project, consisting of an existing dam and reservoir, owned and operated by Greybull, and a new 5-MW generating unit to be placed in a new powerhouse. A three-year preliminary permit was granted. In 2008, Greybull filed for a successive three-year permit for the Upper Sunshine Project, which was granted and then later expired on Jan. 31, 2012.
  • In July 2005, Greybull filed an application for a preliminary permit to study the 5-MW Lower Sunshine Project, consisting of an existing dam and reservoir, owned and operated by Greybull, and two new generating units to be placed in a new powerhouse. The initial preliminary permit was issued, with a second three-year permit issued in 2009, which then expired on Jan. 31, 2012.

“Greybull’s progress reports during its second permits were almost identical to those filed during its first permits,” said the commission’s May 6 ruling. “They included brief, generalized descriptions of its progress, with little detail about its progress towards filing a preliminary application document (PAD)or any other development application materials for either project. Furthermore, Greybull did not file a third or fourth progress report for the Upper Sunshine Project. The second permit terms expired without Greybull filing a notice of intent to file a development application (NOI) and PAD, or any other application materials.”

The commission added: “After a review of the record, we affirm staff’s finding that Greybull did not pursue its development applications in good faith and with due diligence during the term of its second permits to warrant a third preliminary permit. Moreover, Greybull has not shown extraordinary circumstances that warrant third permits. Greybull’s progress reports contain no information about preparing a PAD or other development application materials. Greybull’s third permit applications were virtually identical to the preliminary permit applications it submitted in 2005 and 2008. They did not contain any updated timeline regarding its plans to prepare and file development applications. Furthermore, the studies proposed in the third permit applications are identical to those it proposed in 2005 and in 2008.”

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.