FERC again rejects critic of 1,500-MW pumped storage project in Ohio

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in a Jan. 22 order, rejected a request by an opponent of a 1,500-MW pumped storage hydro project in Ohio.

Summit Metro Parks had filed a request for rehearing of the Oct. 16, 2014, commission order issuing a preliminary permit to New Summit Hydro LLC to study the feasibility of the New Summit Pumped Storage Project, a 1,500-MW project proposed to be located near the City of Norton in Medina and Summit counties, Ohio. The Jan. 22 order denies Metro Parks’ request for rehearing.

In April 2011, commission staff issued South Run Pumped Storage LLC a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the South Run Pumped Storage Project at a site nearly identical to New Summit’s. In South Run’s application, several representatives of Free Flow Power Corp., including Kevin Young, were identified as South Run’s agents.

During South Run’s three-year permit term, it filed the required six-month progress reports. But South Run did not file a development application before the permit expired on March 31, 2014.. On April 1, 2014, New Summit filed a preliminary permit application to study the feasibility of its project, which is very similar to South Run’s. The application identified Young as the managing member of, and agent for, New Summit. The application also identified over forty municipal entities in the vicinity of the proposed project, as required. Metro Parks was not identified in the application.

Metro Parks filed a timely motion to intervene and protest, arguing that FERC should treat New Summit’s application as an application for a successive (i.e., second) permit because New Summit and South Run are essentially the same entity, and deny a successive permit because New Summit was not diligent under its previous permit. In addition, it argued New Summit’s application was deficient and should be rejected because, among other things, it failed to identify Metro Parks as a political subdivision in the general area of the project that should have been entitled to written notice of the application.

The Jan. 22 order noted: “The October 16 order explained that we would not treat South Run and New Summit as the same entity because there was no evidence to indicate that Mr. Young controlled South Run or that either Free Flow or South Run controlled New Summit. Therefore, we found that New Summit’s application was not an application for a successive permit.” But, Metro Parks asked for rehearing of that decision, based on pretty much the same arguments.

Said the Jan. 22 order about one reason that rehearing is rejected as it relates to Young: “It is not unusual for a preliminary permit holder to hire a consultant that is experienced with hydropower development and Commission practice to perform the activities that Metro Parks identifies. In these situations, the consultant acts as an agent on behalf of and within the scope of authority granted by the controlling principal. The mere performance of these activities does not make the agent a principal. We therefore deny rehearing on this issue.”

FERC said about another reason to reject, on the notice issue related to local government agencies: “Although Metro Parks may be a political subdivision of the State of Ohio under state law, it is not a municipal entity that is entitled to written notice under section 4(f) the [Federal Power Act].”

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.