FERC opts against license exemption for Oregon hydro project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 1 rejected a request by Go with the Flow Hydro Power LLC for an exemption on the licensing of a hydro project.

“On May 5, 2014, you filed an Initial Consultation Document (ICD) for a proposed 10-megawatt (MW) exemption for the Go with the Flow Hydroelectric Project (Go with the Flow Project),” FERC said in a July 1 letter to the company. “Commission staff reviewed your filing and has determined that the proposed project does not qualify for a 10-MW exemption.”

The commission is authorized to exempt from the licensing requirements of Part I of the Federal Power Act small hydroelectric projects with an installed capacity of 10-MW or less that: are located at the site of an existing dam (i.e., one that was in existence on or before July 22, 2005), and that use the water power potential of such a dam for the generation of electricity not owned or operated by the United States; or use a “natural water feature” to generate electricity without the need for a dam or manmade impoundment.

Because the Go with the Flow project’s powerhouse would utilize flows that travel through a 5,350-foot-long power canal to reach the proposed turbine/generating unit, it would neither be located at the site of an existing dam nor use a natural water feature to generate electricity, FERC noted. The commission said the company can pursue the normal licensing process for this project.

The proposed project will be located on the Umatilla River, approximately 8.7 river miles upstream of its confluence with the Columbia River. The site is about 1.3 miles west southwest of Hermiston, Oregon. The project will utilize the existing abandoned hydroelectric facilities which were previously licensed by the FERC in 1984 under the name of Jim Boyd Hydroelectric Project. The prior FERC license was terminated in 2011. The existing facilities have been purchased by Go with the Flow and will be renovated to return the plant to operating condition and to meet new license requirements.

Four vertical propeller type turbine-generators rated at 300 kW each are installed in the powerhouse. The units will be refurbished as required, the May 5 application said. There are currently no plans for future addition of turbine-generators or any increase in generating capacity.

The project contact is: Mark Sigl, Go with the Flow Hydro Power LLC, 8021 Firestone Way, Antelope, CA  95843, mark.sigl@smud.org, (916) 812-5051.

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.