FERC cancels permit on 750-MW Bellwood hydro project in Pa.

After a failure by Bellwood Hydro LLC to file its third six-month progress report, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent a July 17 notice to the company that its December 2011 preliminary permit on a 750-MW pumped storage hydro project has been cancelled.

In August 2011, Bellwood Hydro filed an application for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the Bellwood Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, to be located on Tipton Run in Blair County, Pa.

The Bellwood project, as proposed, would include:

  • a new 3,700-foot-long, 275-foot-high rock or earth fill main dam and a new 2,500-foot-long, 60-foot-high rock or earth fill saddle dam forming an upper reservoir having a surface area of 101 acres and a total storage capacity of 10,600 acre-feet at a normal maximum operating elevation of 2,440 feet mean sea level (msl);
  • a new 1,530-foot-long, 185-foot-high rock or earth fill dam forming a lower reservoir having a surface area of 120 acres and a total storage capacity of 9,400 acre-feet at a normal maximum operating level of 1,460 feet msl;
  • an underground powerhouse containing three turbine units with a rated capacity of 250 MW each; and
  • a 500-kV, 7.3-mile-long transmission line.

The project would have an annual generation of 1,973 gigawatt-hours.

In its second update on the project, filed with FERC in November 2012, the project company, represented by Symbiotics Energy out of Utah, said that the primary activity in the prior six months was focused upon information retrieval and basic data research to assist in refining the project concepts and economic feasibility. The following six-month period will continue this data acquisition process and begin research regarding sizing, major feature layout assumptions and costs based on existing information, the company added.

Said the July 17 FERC letter: “The permittee was notified on June 11, 2013, that its third progress report due on May 31, 2013, was overdue, and therefore, that the permit would likely be cancelled in no less than 30 days. The permittee did not file a response; therefore, the preliminary permit is hereby cancelled.” The preliminary permit is cancelled effective the close of business on Aug. 16, FERC noted.

A preliminary permit gives a party an exclusive, 36-month right to explore the feasibility of a project, with updates to be filed with FERC every six months during that period. If the decision is to proceed on the project, then a license application at FERC would be needed.

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.