FERC okays permit for Bear Creek Hydroelectric project in Washington

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 22 approved a May 1 application by Liquid Sun Hydro LLC for a three-year preliminary permit that allows it exclusivity to study the feasibility of the proposed Bear Creek Hydroelectric Project, to be located on Bear Creek near the city of Concrete in Skagit County, Washington.

The proposed project would consist of two developments – the Upper Bear Creek and the Lower Bear Creek – using some of the existing facilities from Puget Sound Power and Light Co.’s Bear Creek Project, which was surrendered in 1983.

  • The Upper Bear Creek development would consist of these existing facilities: a reservoir with a surface area of one acre and storage capacity of two acre feet; a 100-foot-long, 6-foot-high diversion with an integrated 30-foot-long, 6-foot-high ungated overflow spillway; a powerhouse containing a 250-kW Francis turbine; an 8-foot-wide tailrace; and a total of 1,850 feet of access roads. All of these facilities will be renovated or repaired. The Upper Bear Creek development would also consist of these new facilities: a 400-foot-long, 36-inch-diameter above-ground steel penstock routed through the existing penstock alignment; a 250-kW generator; and a 350-foot-long, 12.5-kV three-phase transmission line interconnecting with the existing, surrendered Bear Creek Project transmission line. The estimated annual generation of the Upper Bear Creek development would be 1.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh).
  • The Lower Bear Creek development would consist of these existing facilities: a reservoir with a surface area of 1.7 acre; a 235-foot-long, 24-foot-high diversion structure with an integrated 82-foot-long, 24-foot-high ungated overflow spillway; a powerhouse containing three 600-kW Pelton turbines; two tailraces; and a total of 4,350 feet of access roads. All of these facilities will be renovated or repaired. It would also consist of these new facilities: a 2,800-foot-long, 36-inch-diameter above-ground steel penstock routed through the existing penstock alignment a 4,000-kW Francis turbine replacing the existing three Pelton turbines; and a 3.5-mile-long, 12.5-kV three-phase transmission line interconnecting with the Puget Sound Energy transmission lines at Lake Tyree. The estimated annual generation of the Lower Bear Creek development would be 15 GWh.

Both developments would be operated as run-of-river facilities with no usable storage. The estimated total annual generation of the project would be 16.2 GWh.