Tribe seeks FERC permits for small hydroelectric projects in California

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe applied Nov. 3 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit covering a three-year period to study the development of the proposed Prosser Creek Hydroelectric Project in Nevada County, California.

This application is made in order that the tribe may secure and maintain priority of application for a license for the project while obtaining the data and performing the acts required to determine feasibility and support an application for a license. The project would be located at the Prosser Creek Dam, which is owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Interior under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Division in Sacramento, California.

The dam is on Prosser Creek, a tributary to the Truckee River. Prosser Creek Dam and reservoir are major features of the Washoe Storage Project. Major features of the Washoe Project include Prosser Creek, Stampede, and Marble Bluff Dams, and the Pyramid Lake Fishway.

The proposed Prosser Creek Project powerhouse will be located at the existing discharge channel on the downstream side of Prosser Creek Dam. The proposed powerhouse would be located on the east side of the primary discharge channel outlet and would contain two Kaplan generating units (one smaller 790 kW unit and one larger 2.7 MW unit) with ancillary electrical and mechanical equipment.

The applicant proposes to construct a new 650-foot-long, 69-kV transmission line to interconnect the project to an existing, nearby 69-kV transmission line. The proposed grid connection will require that a step-up transformer be installed at the proposed powerhouse generator in order to wheel project power to the grid.

The proposed project at a total of 3.5 MW will generate an estimated 7.4 gigawatt-hours of energy per year (GWh/yr). This estimate is based 40 years of average flow data in Prosser Creek along with assumptions made regarding tailwater elevations at various flows. Annual generation will be dependent on final project configuration developed in consultation with the Bureau of Reclamation and releases from Prosser Creek Dam.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe on Nov. 3 filed a second preliminary permit application with FERC for the proposed Boca Hydroelectric Project. This project will be located at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Boca Dam in Nevada County, California.

The proposed powerhouse would be located on the east side of the primary outlet and sized approximately 45 feet wide by 45 feet long by 40 feet high (10 feet of the height would be above ground surface) and will contain a single generating unit with ancillary electrical and mechanical equipment. The existing primary outlet pipes would remain in place. The new penstocks to the powerhouse would be configured to enable flow to be taken from either or both outlet pipes and would subsequently join to a single penstock to convey flow to the powerhouse.

The applicant proposes to construct a new 700-foot long, 12-kV transmission line to interconnect the proposed project to an existing 12–kV transmission line. The proposed grid connection will require that a step-up transformer be installed at the proposed powerhouse.

The Boca project will have a single unit with an authorized installed capacity of approximately 1.4 MW and will generate an estimated 3.5 gigawatt-hours of energy per year (GWh/yr). This estimate is based 40 years of average flow data in the Little Truckee River along with assumptions made regarding tailwater elevations at various flows. Annual generation will be dependent on final project configuration developed on consultation with the Bureau of Reclamation and releases from Boca Dam.

A project contact in both cases is: Donna Noel, Director of Natural Resources, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Post Office Box 256, Nixon, NV 89424, Telephone: (775) 574-1000, dnoel@plpt.nsn.us.

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.