FERC rejects permit extension for 9-MW Kaweah River hydro project in California

Saying the developer can keep its lead position to develop this hydropower project anyway, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 29 rejected a Sept. 18 application from the Kaweah River Power Authority (KRPA) for a two-year extension of its existing preliminary permit for the Incremental Generation Project.

The project would be located entirely within the project boundary of KRPA’s existing Terminus Power Project on the Kaweah River/Lake Kaweah, near the town of Lemon Cove in Tulare County, California, at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ existing Terminus Dam.

In November 2012, commission staff issued KRPA a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of the proposed Incremental Generation Project. The project would utilize the head created by the Corps’ Terminus Dam and use some of the existing facilities of the Terminus Power Project, including: a 1,675-foot-long penstock, and a 2-mile-long, 66-kV transmission line interconnecting the Terminus Project to an existing Southern California Edison transmission line.

The project would consist of these new facilities: a 470-foot-long, 6-foot-diameter steel penstock connecting the existing Terminus Project penstock to a 50-foot-long by 40-foot-wide by 49-foot-tall concrete powerhouse that contains a 6-MW Francis turbine (Unit 2); a 3.5-foot-diameter low-flow conduit connecting the existing Terminus Project penstock to a yet-to-be-designed concrete powerhouse containing two Francis turbines (2-MW (Unit 3) and 1-MW (Unit 4)); a tailrace from the Unit3/Unit4 powerhouse, discharging approximately 50 feet upstream of the existing Terminus Project tailrace; and a tailrace from the Unit 2 powerhouse, discharging into the river approximately 75 feet downstream of the existing Terminus Project tailrace.

The annual energy output of all three proposed units (9 MW) would be approximately 9.2 gigawatt hours.

On Sept. 18, KRPA filed a timely request for a two-year extension of its preliminary permit term, which is due to expire on Oct. 31, 2015.

Said the Oct. 29 FERC order: “In its extension request, KRPA indicates that it now intends to file an application to amend its existing license for the Terminus Power Project to include the additional capacity being studied under this preliminary permit. Because it does not appear that KRPA intends to develop a license application, there is no need to extend the preliminary permit. In addition, because all of the proposed facilities would be located entirely within the project boundary of the existing Terminus Project, where any entities interested in developing hydropower would need to obtain approval from KRPA, a preliminary permit does not appear to be necessary to maintain KRPA’s priority to seek authorization for them. Therefore, KRPA’s request to extend the term of its preliminary permit for the Incremental Generation Project is denied.”

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.