FERC axes permit for 1,100-MW pumped storage project in N.M.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Jan. 8 that it is terminating a preliminary permit held by Yegua Mesa Hydro LLC for an 1,100-MW pumped storage project in New Mexico.

In September 2012, Yegua Mesa Hydro was issued a successive preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the Yegua Mesa Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, to be located in San Miguel County, N.M. Article 4 of the preliminary permit requires that the permittee submit a progress report at the close of each six-month period from the effective date of the permit.

On Oct. 21, 2013, FERC notified the company that its first progress report 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,” said the Jan. 8 finding. The preliminary permit for the project is cancelled effective the close of business on Feb. 7. No other applications for this site may be submitted until after the cancellation is effective.

A preliminary permit grants the developer an exclusive period to explore project feasibility, with a license then needed from FERC if the project moves forward.

The proposed Yegua Mesa project would have been closed loop and not built on an existing body of water. It would have consisted of: an upper earthen dam with a height of 94 feet and a length of 11,088 feet; an upper reservoir with a surface area of 380 acres, a capacity of 9,868 acre-feet, and a maximum pool elevation of 6,800 feet above mean sea level (msl); a lower earthen dam with a height of 99 feet and a length of 5,597 feet; a lower reservoir with a surface area of 380 acres, a capacity of 9,365 acre-feet, and a maximum pool elevation of 5,380 feet msl; a 27-foot-diameter, 9,690-foot-long steel penstock; a powerhouse containing four pump/turbine units with a total installed capacity of 1,100 MW; and a 14-mile-long, 500-kV transmission line. The project would have had an annual production of 3,993 gigawatthours that would be sold to a local utility.

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.