FERC issues permit for 1,500-MW pumped storage project in Ohio

New Summit Hydro LLC on Oct. 16 won a preliminary permit approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a 1,500-MW pumped storage hydro project in Ohio.

New Summit had filed a preliminary permit application to study the feasibility of the proposed New Summit Pumped Storage Project, to be located near the City of Norton in Medina and Summit counties, Ohio.

The proposed project to be studied under the three-year permit would include: an excavated, diked, and asphalt-lined upper reservoir with a storage capacity of 8,000 acre-feet and a water surface area of 150 acres; a lower underground reservoir, created by previous limestone mining activities, with a storage capacity of 7,760 acre-feet; an underground powerhouse and appurtenant structures, including six 250-MW variable-speed reversible pump turbines, for a total installed capacity of 1,500 MW; and four 345-kV overhead transmission line circuits, approximately 3 miles long, arranged within an existing transmission line corridor located north of the proposed reservoir. The estimated annual generation of the New Summit Project would be between 1,300,000 and 2,000,000 megawatt-hours.

Summit Metro Parks filed a protest opposing New Summit’s preliminary permit application on several grounds. The U.S. Department of the Interior filed comments, encouraging agency consultation and providing environmental mitigation measures should the project be constructed. In addition, the City of Norton, Ohio, Friends of Metro Parks, Linda Bernat and CM Schafer filed comments opposing the application. Norton raised several issues in its comments, and Friends of Metro Parks expressed support for Norton’s and Metro Parks’ arguments.

South Run Pumped Storage LLC previously held a permit for a similar pumped storage project at the site that New Summit now proposes to develop. Norton and Metro Parks contended that South Run and New Summit are essentially the same company, controlled by Kevin Young, who they identified as an authorized representative for both companies. Given this connection, Norton and Metro Parks requested that FERC treat New Summit’s application as a successive permit application.

Norton and Metro Parks contended that South Run failed to pursue its permit with good faith and due diligence and asked the commission to deny New Summit’s permit application on that basis.

In response, New Summit maintained that it is independent of Free Flow Power Corp., the parent company of South Run, and that neither South Run nor Free Flow control New Summit. 

“As the Commission recently recognized in KC Pittsfield LLC, we will treat a prior permit holder and a new permit applicant as the same entity when the prior permit holder has a ‘cloak of control’ over the second permit,” said FERC in the Oct. 16 decision. “In such a situation, the Commission will treat the permit application as a successive application and will consider whether the prior permittee pursued its permit with good faith and due diligence. Here, Norton and Metro Parks fail to demonstrate that Free Flow or South Run control New Summit. Mr. Young is an agent and managing member for New Summit, but was merely an agent for South Run. Norton and Metro Parks have not provided information indicating that Mr. Young controlled South Run, and nothing in the record indicates he did so. Activities such as filing progress reports and preparing permit application materials, as South Run’s agent, do not demonstrate that he acted as South Run’s controlling principal or manager. Therefore, we do not consider New Summit to be the same entity as South Run, and we will not treat New Summit’s application as an application for a successive permit.”

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.