Federal agencies seek offers for small hydro projects in New Mexico

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is taking offers of interest to develop small hydroelectric projects in New Mexico.

In a notice of intent to be published in the Aug. 7 Federal Register, the bureau said that current federal policy allows non-federal development of electrical power resource potential on federal water resource projects. The bureau, in coordination with the Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration (Western), will consider proposals for non-federal development of hydroelectric power on the San Juan-Chama Project at any or all of the conduit locations specified in the Aug. 7 notice.

The bureau is considering this development under a lease of power privilege. Western would have the first opportunity to purchase and/or market the power that would be generated by such development under a lease of power privilege. No federal funds will be available for this hydroelectric development.

A written proposal and seven copies must be submitted on or before 5:00 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) on Jan. 6, 2014.

The San Juan-Chama Project was authorized as a participating project of the Colorado River Storage Project in 1962. It is a federal reclamation project located in northern New Mexico, near the town of Chama, and diverts Colorado River water through a series of three dams, three diversions, and three tunnels. The Azotea Tunnel Outlet empties into Willow Creek and has the capacity to deliver 950 cubic feet per second. Reclamation maintains easements along Willow Creek. The Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation is an adjacent landowner.

The federal agencies are considering hydroelectric development on the San Juan-Chama Project under a lease of power privilege at up to four conduit drops along the project. These locations are the Azotea Tunnel Outlet, the drop located at Station 1565+00, the drop located at Station 1702+75, and the drop located at Station 1831+17. The station drops are all located downstream of the Azotea Tunnel Outlet along Willow Creek.

A lease of power privilege is an alternative to federal hydroelectric development. It is a contractual right given to a non-federal entity to use a Reclamation facility for electric power generation consistent with Reclamation project purposes. Leases of power privilege have terms not to exceed 40 years.

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.