FERC rejects permit extension for 1,200-MW pumped storage project in Washington

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 5 rejected an Oct. 30 application from Public Utility District No. 1 of Klickitat County, Washington for a two-year extension of its successive preliminary permit for the 1,200-MW JD Pool Pumped Storage Project.

The proposed project would be located in Klickitat County, Washington, and Sherman County, Oregon. The first preliminary permit dates back to a 2008 application for a 1,500-MW version of the project. The upper reservoir would be located in the Columbia Hills overlooking the Columbia River, near existing wind turbine generators and approximately 2,000 feet above the lower reservoir. The lower reservoir would be located at the site of a closed aluminum smelter, adjacent to the Columbia River near the U.S Army Corps of Engineers John Day Dam.

That first permit was issued in May 2009, with a successive three-year permit granted in 2012 so the district could continue to study project feasibility. A big issue with the Oct. 30 application for a third permit was the district missed the extension request deadline based on the end of the prior permit.

Said FERC’s Nov. 5 order: “Here, Klickitat PUD fails to adequately support its statement that extraordinary circumstances were present that prevented it from filing a timely request for an extension. Klickitat PUD explains that it did not file a timely extension request because, until mid October, it was unsure whether it would continue to pursue the project at all. Klickitat PUD states that its Board of Commissioners had concerns about financing the project that were not resolved until the deadline to file an extension request had passed.”

FERC added: “Financial concerns about a project’s viability are an issue common to many projects. This is not an extraordinary circumstance, or a unique situation that merits a waiver. Klickitat PUD states that a renewed interest in financial support for the project started in July of 2015. Therefore, Klickitat PUD could have at least filed for an extension of the filing deadline before the deadline passed. For the reasons above, Klickitat PUD’s request for a waiver of the 30-day filing deadline…is denied. As such, Klickitat PUD’s request to extend the term of its successive permit is untimely and is rejected.”

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.