FERC rules that Alaska hydro project doesn’t need a license

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a Jan. 22 order agreed with a developer that no FERC-issued license is needed for a 1-MW hydro project in Alaska.

On July 18, 2014, Cordova Electric Cooperative filed a Declaration of Intention (DI) concerning the proposed Crater Lake Water and Power Hydroelectric Project, which will be located on a Crater Lake outflow stream northeast of the City of Cordova, in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska.

The proposed project will consist of: the natural reservoir of water in Crater Lake, with a current estimated capacity of 400 acre-feet; a 20-foot-high, concrete dam at an elevation of 1,580 feet above mean sea level; a 3,800-foot-long, 1.05-foot diameter above-ground steel penstock; a steel-frame powerhouse containing a single, one-megawatt generating unit rated at 1,450 feet of net head and a discharge of 2.85 cubic feet per second (cfs); a tailrace that would extend approximately 20 yards south from the powerhouse to discharge into Crater Creek, a tributary of the Orca Inlet; a short 1.47-kV three-phase transmission line conveying power to an existing 12.47-kV distribution line; and a pipe or channel conduit linking the powerhouse outflow with the water supply pipeline.

Said the Jan. 22 FERC order: “Based upon available information it does not appear that the proposed project would be located on a navigable water of the United States. It will not occupy any public lands or reservations of the United States, and will not use surplus water or waterpower from a Federal government dam. The proposed project would be constructed after August 26, 1935, and would use water from a Commerce Clause stream, but would not affect interstate commerce because it would not be connected to an interstate grid and would not have a significant effect on anadromous fish. Therefore, the project does not require licensing under Section 23(b)(1) of 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.