FERC issues permit for 400-MW pumped storage hydro project in Idaho

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 27 granted a December 2014 application from Cat Creek Energy LLC for a preliminary permit that allows it to study for the next three years the feasibility of the 400-MW Cat Creek Energy Generation Facility Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project.

The project would be located at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Anderson Ranch reservoir on the South Fork of the Boise River near Mountain Home in Elmore County, Idaho.

The Cat Creek project would use the existing Anderson Ranch reservoir as the project’s lower reservoir. The project would consist of these new facilities: a 3.4-mile-long, 80-foot-high earthen dam forming a 38,000-acre-foot upper reservoir above the Anderson Ranch reservoir; two 5,600-foot-long, 22-foot-diameter steel penstocks used to convey water between the upper reservoir and two 200-MW vertical Francis turbines/generators and pumping equipment housed in two 100-foot-diameter concrete silos located adjacent to Anderson Ranch reservoir; and an 8 mile-long, 230-kV transmission line interconnecting with the existing Bonneville Power Administration Dixie Substation. The estimated annual generation of the Cat Creek project would be 1,401.6 gigawatt-hours.

In January, the Bureau of Reclamation responded to the application by stating that, under Presumption 5 of the 1992 Memorandum of Understanding between the commission and Reclamation, it retains jurisdiction over hydropower development at the Anderson Ranch dam, reservoir, and powerhouse, which are part of Reclamation’s Boise Project. On June 8, the commission replied and agreed that Reclamation has jurisdiction over those areas, but that the commission retains jurisdiction for hydropower facilities that would be located outside of Reclamation’s Anderson Ranch dam, reservoir, and powerhouse; therefore, that includes the new upper reservoir, the new penstocks, the new powerhouses, the new transmission line, and the new access road.

Said the Nov. 27 FERC permit approval: “During the course of the permit, the Commission expects that the permittee will carry out prefiling consultation and study development leading to the possible development of a license application. The prefiling process begins with preparation of a Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-Application Document (PAD) pursuant to sections 5.5 and 5.6 of the Commission’s regulations. The permittee must use the Integrated Licensing Process unless the Commission grants a request to use an alternative process (Alternative or Traditional Licensing Process). Such a request must accompany the NOI and PAD and set forth specific information justifying the request. Should the permittee file a development application, notice of the application will be published, and interested persons and agencies will have an opportunity to intervene and to present their views concerning the project and the effects of its construction and operation.

A project contact listed in the permit application is: James Carkulis, Cat Creek Energy LLC, 406-204-2321, JTC@TelsTechnology.net.

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.